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British journal of pharmacology

The novel nonapeptide acein targets angiotensin converting enzyme in the brain and induces dopamine release.


PMID 27027724

Abstract

Using an in-house bioinformatics programme, we identified and synthesized a novel nonapeptide, H-Pro-Pro-Thr-Thr-Thr-Lys-Phe-Ala-Ala-OH. Here, we have studied its biological activity, in vitro and in vivo, and have identified its target in the brain. The affinity of the peptide was characterized using purified whole brain and striatal membranes from guinea pigs and rats . Its effect on behaviour in rats following intra-striatal injection of the peptide was investigated. A photoaffinity UV cross-linking approach combined with subsequent affinity purification of the ligand covalently bound to its receptor allowed identification of its target. The peptide bound with high affinity to a single class of binding sites, specifically localized in the striatum and substantia nigra of brains from guinea pigs and rats. When injected within the striatum of rats, the peptide stimulated in vitro and in vivo dopamine release and induced dopamine-like motor effects. We purified the target of the peptide, a ~151xa0kDa protein that was identified by MS/MS as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE I). Therefore, we decided to name the peptide acein. The synthetic nonapeptide acein interacted with high affinity with brain membrane-bound ACE. This interaction occurs at a different site from the active site involved in the well-known peptidase activity, without modifying the peptidase activity. Acein, in vitro and in vivo, significantly increased stimulated release of dopamine from the brain. These results suggest a more important role for brain ACE than initially suspected.

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