[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neuropeptides are essential for cell-cell communication in the nervous and neuroendocrine systems. Production of active neuropeptides requires proteolytic processing of proneuropeptide precursors in secretory vesicles that produce, store, and release neuropeptides that regulate physiological functions. This review describes recent findings indicating the prominent role of cathepsin L in secretory vesicles for production of neuropeptides from their protein precursors. The role of cathepsin L in neuropeptide production was discovered using the strategy of activity-based probes for proenkephalin-cleaving activity for identification of the enzyme protein by mass spectrometry. The novel role of cathepsin L in secretory vesicles for neuropeptide production has been demonstrated in vivo by cathepsin L gene knockout studies, cathepsin L gene expression in neuroendocrine cells, and notably, cathepsin L localization in neuropeptide-containing secretory vesicles. Cathepsin L is involved in producing opioid neuropeptides consisting of enkephalin, β-endorphin, and dynorphin, as well as in generating the POMC-derived peptide hormones ACTH and α-MSH. In addition, NPY, CCK, and catestatin neuropeptides utilize cathepsin L for their biosynthesis. The neuropeptide-synthesizing functions of cathepsin L represent its unique activity in secretory vesicles, which contrasts with its role in lysosomes. Interesting evaluations of protease gene knockout studies in mice that lack cathepsin L compared to those lacking PC1/3 and PC2 (PC, prohormone convertase) indicate the key role of cathepsin L in neuropeptide production. Therefore, dual cathepsin L and prohormone convertase protease pathways participate in neuropeptide production. Significantly, the recent new findings indicate cathepsin L as a novel 'proprotein convertase' for production of neuropeptides that mediate cell-cell communication in health and disease.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Zebrafish (Danio rerio) are becoming increasingly popular in neurobehavioral research. Here, we summarize recent data on behavioral responses of adult zebrafish to a wide spectrum of putative anxiolytic and anxiogenic agents. Using the novel tank test as a sensitive and efficient behavioral assay, zebrafish anxiety-like behavior can be bi-directionally modulated by drugs affecting the gamma-aminobutyric acid, monoaminergic, cholinergic, glutamatergic and opioidergic systems. Complementing human and rodent data, zebrafish drug-evoked phenotypes obtained in this test support this species as a useful model for neurobehavioral and psychopharmacological research.
Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry 11/2010; 35(6):1421-31. · 3.55 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dynorphin opioid neuropeptides mediate neurotransmission for analgesia and behavioral functions. Dynorphin A, dynorphin B, and alpha-neoendorphin are generated from prodynorphin by proteolytic processing. This study demonstrates the significant role of the cysteine protease cathepsin L for producing dynorphins. Cathepsin L knockout mouse brains showed extensive decreases in dynorphin A, dynorphin B, and alpha-neoendorphin that were reduced by 75%, 83%, and 90%, respectively, compared to controls. Moreover, cathepsin L in brain cortical neurons was colocalized with dynorphins in secretory vesicles, the primary site of neuropeptide production. Cellular coexpression of cathepsin L with prodynorphin in PC12 cells resulted in increased production of dynorphins A and B. Comparative studies of PC1/3 and PC2 convertases showed that PC1/3 knockout mouse brains had a modest decrease in dynorphin A, and PC2 knockout mice showed a minor decrease in alpha-neoendorphin. Overall, these results demonstrate a prominent role for cathepsin L, jointly with PC1/3 and PC2, for production of dynorphins in brain.
Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 10/2009; 43(1):98-107. · 3.84 Impact Factor