The aim of the work was to identify and characterize the cysteine proteinases of bone tissue, as these enzymes appear necessary for bone resorption. Three cysteine-dependent proteolytic activities were separated from a homogenate of mouse calvaria by a fractionation procedure involving (NH4)2SO4 precipitation, gel filtration and ion-exchange chromatography. The first two are typical cathepsins B and L with respect to (1) their reactivity with anti-(cathepsin B) and anti-(cathepsin L) antibodies respectively, (2) their relative rate constants for inhibition by benzyloxycarbonyl-Phe-Phe-CHN2 and L-3-carboxy-trans-2,3-epoxypropionyl-L-leucylamido-(4-guanid ino)butane and (3) their enzymic properties, such as the higher activities of cathepsin L against collagen and gelatin as compared with cathepsin B, and the fact that benzyloxycarbonyl-Arg-Arg 4-methoxy-2-naphthylamide is hydrolysed only by cathepsin B. Cathepsin L was mainly recovered in its precursor form, as indicated by its apparent 40 kDa molecular mass and its relative stability at pH 7.2. The third enzyme is a cathepsin L-like proteinase with an apparent molecular mass of 70 kDa. It is immunoprecipitated by anti-(cathepsin L) antibodies, and appears as the 25 kDa band of mature cathepsin L in Western blots. It further resembles (pro)cathepsin L with regard to its activities against synthetic substrates and proteins such as collagen, and with regard to its response to various inhibitors. However, unlike (pro)cathepsin L, it is eluted as a 70 kDa protein on gel filtration (even in the presence of 1% Brij or 1 M-NaCl), it is stable at pH values as high as 9, and it exhibits stronger affinity for phenyl-Sepharose. It might thus result from a strong complex between mature cathepsin L and another entity that confers stability at alkaline pH and favours hydrophobic interactions. This 70 kDa activity was also detected in mouse muscle and long bones of Ca(2+)-deficient chicks but not in mouse liver, spleen or kidney.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.