1. Membrane-bound (particulate) and soluble amino acid 2-naphthylamidases (EC 3.5.1.-) were present in subcellular fractions of epidermis from pig and human. 2. The particulate enzymes exhibited Michaelis-Menten kinetics, with Km 5.1x10(-5) (pig) and Km 7.3x10(-5)M (human) for the substrate L-leucine 2-naphthylamide. They were inhibited by puromycin and partially inhibited by EDTA. They did not require heavy metals and were not inhibited by thiol-group-blocking agents. Their pH optima were 7.0 (human) and 6.6 (pig). The particulate enzyme from pig epidermis retained 50% activity after 30 min at 70 degrees C. 3. The soluble amino acid 2-naphthylamidases gave sigmoidal curves for reaction velocity versus substrate concentration, and the kinetic data suggested that there was positive co-operativity between binding sites. This co-operativity was lost after treatment with 0.1mM-p-hydroxymercuribenzoate and the enzymes showed first-order kinetics at low substrate concentrations. The soluble enzymes were inhibited by puromycin and by thiol-group-blocking agents and activated by dithiothreitol. They were inactivated above 60 degrees C and lost activity on storage, but this could be restored with dithiothreitol. 4. The amino acid 2-naphthylamidases of human epidermis were much more active (2.5 times) towards L-alanine 2-naphthylamide than towards the commonly used substrate L-leucine 2-naphthylamide. 5. The kinetics of both the solube and particulate enzymes from epidermis of some elderly patients with either diabetes or ischaemia showed some differences from the kinetics of enzymes from healthy epidermis from younger individuals.

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