Proline-specific dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP TV) is an established enzyme known to degrade neuropeptides and peptide hormones in vertebrate tissues. DPP TV cleaves peptides at the Pro(2) residue. Because several neuropeptides of the cockroach Leucophaea maderae, such as LemTRP-1 (APSGFLGVRamide), are potential substrates for this peptidase, we investigated the occurrence of proline-specific DPP activity in cockroach tissues. Partly purified DPP activity was characterized from the brain and midgut of L. maderae by using Gly-Pro-4-nitroanilide as a substrate. The highest activity was obtained from the membrane fraction of intestine; about 10 times less activity (per milligram protein) was obtained from brain membranes. A smaller amount of soluble DPP activity could also be identified in both tissues. Gel chromatography of the solubilized intestinal DPP activity revealed a molecular mass of about 75 kDa. The enzyme had a pH optimum of 8.5. Diprotin A (Ile-Pro-Ile) was an efficient competitive inhibitor of the cockroach DPP, whereas other known DPP inhibitors were found to be less potent. When incubated with human and cockroach DPP IV, the cleavage products of LemTRP-1 were AP and SGFLGVRamide (des-AP-LemTRP-1) as determined by mass spectrometry of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-purified peptide fragments. The AP fragment was biologically inactive and the des-AP fragment had a drastically reduced myostimulatory activity on the hindgut of L. maderae. The blowfly TRP callitachykinin-I (CavTK-I; APTAFYGVRamide) was cleaved in two steps to des-AP-CavTK-I and desAPTA-CavTK-I, showing that cockroach DPP does not only liberate Xaa-Pro, but also Xaa-Ala dipeptides. The fragment desAPTA-CavTK-I was completely inactive on the cockroach hindgut. To compare, LemTRP-3 and CavTK-II, which lack a Pro(2), were not cleaved by DPP IV. Enzyme histochemistry for DPP IV was performed on cryostat sections of brain and intestine with Gly-Pro-4-methoxy-2-naphthylamide as the substrate and Fast Blue B as the chromogen. Strong histochemical labeling was seen in specific neuropils of the brain such as the calyces of the mushroom bodies, the antennal glomeruli, and the central body. Also, the inner lining of the midgut (the peritrophic membrane) and the malpighian tubules were strongly labeled by reaction product. In both the brain and intestine, the enzyme-histochemical reaction was inhibited by diprotin A.
2000. Vol. 418, no 1, 81-92 p.