, Volume 84, Issue 8, pp 628-634

Prohormone convertases differentially process pro-neurotensin/neuromedin N in tissues and cell lines

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Abstract

Neurotensin (NT) is synthesized as part of a larger precursor that also contains neuromedin N (NN), a six-amino acid neurotensin-like peptide. NT and NN are located in the C-terminal region of the precursor (pro-NT/NN) where they are flanked and separated by three Lys-Arg sequences. A fourth dibasic sequence is present in the middle of the precursor. Dibasics are the consensus sites recognized and cleaved by specialized endoproteases that belong to the family of proprotein convertases (PCs). In tissues that express pro-NT/NN, the three C-terminal Lys-Arg sites are differentially processed, whereas the middle dibasic is poorly cleaved. Processing gives rise mainly to NT and NN in the brain, to NT and a large peptide with a C-terminal NN moiety (large NN) in the gut, and to NT, large NN, and a large peptide with a C-terminal NT moiety (large NT) in the adrenals. Recent evidence indicates that PC1, PC2, and PC5-A are the prohormone convertases responsible for the processing patterns observed in the gut, brain, and adrenals, respectively. As NT, NN, large NT, and large NN are all endowed with biological activity, the evidence reviewed in this paper supports the idea that posttranslational processing of pro-NT/NN in tissues may generate biological diversity of pathophysiological relevance.