Protein gene product 9.5 (PGP9.5) is a cytosolic protein that is highly expressed in vertebrate neurons, which is now included in the ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase subclass (UCH) on the basis of primary-structure homology and hydrolytic activity on the synthetic substrate ubiquitin ethyl ester (UbOEt). Some UCHs show affinity for immobilized ubiquitin, a property exploited to purify them. In this study we show that this property can also be applied to PGP9.5, since a protein has been purified to homogeneity from bovine retina by affinity chromatography on a ubiquitin–Sepharose column that can be identified with: (a) PGP9.5 with respect to molecular mass, primary structure and immunological reactivity; (b) the known UCHs with respect to some catalytic properties, such as hydrolytic activity on UbOEt, (which also characterizes PGP9.5), Km value and reactivity with cysteine and histidine-specific reagents. However, it differs with respect to other properties, e.g. inhibition by UbOEt and a wider pH range of activity.

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