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Neprilysin, also known as neutral endopeptidase (NEP), CD10, and common acute lymphoblastic leukemia antigen (CALLA), is a zinc-dependent metalloprotease enzyme that degrades a number of small secreted peptides, most notably the amyloid beta peptide whose abnormal misfolding and aggregation in neural tissue has been implicated as a cause of Alzheimer's disease. Synthesized as a membrane-bound protein, the neprilysin ectodomain is released into the extracellular domain after it has been transported from the Golgi apparatus to the cell surface. In neurons, neprilysin is regulated by the protein nicastrin, a component of the gamma secretase complex that performs a necessary step in processing amyloid precursor protein to amyloid beta.
Additional recommended knowledge
Amyloid beta regulation
Mutations in the neprilysin gene have been associated with familial forms of Alzheimer's disease, and neprilysin-deficient knockout mice show both Alzheimer's-like behavioral impairment and amyloid-beta deposition in the brain, providing strong evidence for the protein's association with the Alzheimer's disease process. Because neprilysin is thought to be the rate-limiting step in amyloid beta degradation, it has been considered a potential therapeutic target; compounds such as the peptide hormone somatostatin have been identified that increase the enzyme's activity level. One hypothesis for the strong dependence of Alzheimer's incidence on age focuses on the declining production of somatostatin the brains of elderly people, which thus depresses the activity of neprilysin and promotes aggregation of unprocessed amyloid beta. Declining neprilysin activity with increasing age may also be explained by oxidative damage, known to be a causative factor in Alzheimer's disease; higher levels of inappropriately oxidized neprilysin have been found in Alzheimer's patients compared to cognitively normal elderly people.
Neprilysin is also associated with other biochemical processes, and is particularly highly expressed in kidney and lung tissues. Inhibitors have been designed with the aim of developing analgesic and antihypertensive agents that act by preventing neprilysin's activity against signaling peptides such as enkephalins, substance P, endothelin, and atrial natriuretic factor.
Associations have been observed between neprilysin expression and various types of cancer; however, the relationship between neprilysin expression and carcinogenesis remains obscure. In cancer biomarker studies, the neprilysin gene is often referred to as CD10 or CALLA. In some types of cancer, such as metastatic carcinoma and some advanced melanomas, neprilysin is overexpressed; in other types, most notably lung cancers, neprilysin is downregulated, and thus unable to modulate the pro-growth autocrine signaling of cancer cells via secreted peptides such as mammalian homologs related to bombesin.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Neprilysin". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|