A manganese-dependent cysteinyl-glycine hydrolysing activity has been purified to electrophoretic homogeneity from bovine lens. The characterization of the purified enzyme (molecular mass of the native protein, molecular mass of the subunit and extensive primary structure analysis) allowed the unequivocal attribution of the cysteinyl-glycine hydrolysing activity, which is usually associated with alanyl aminopeptidase (EC or membrane-bound dipeptidase (EC, to LAP (leucyl aminopeptidase; EC Analysis of the pH dependence of Cys-Gly hydrolysis catalysed by LAP, supported by a molecular modelling approach to the enzyme–substrate conformation, gave insights into the ability of the enzyme to recognize Cys-Gly as a substrate. Due to the effectiveness of LAP in hydrolysing Cys-Gly (Km=0.57 mM, kcat=6.0×103 min−1 at pH 7.4 and 25 °C) with respect to other dipeptide substrates, a new role for this enzyme in glutathione turnover is proposed.

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