The mechanism of hydrolysis and absorption of a proline-containing tetrapeptide, Leu-Pro-Gly-Gly (10 mM) by rat intestine was examined in vivo by using jejunal perfusion methods. The peptide substrate and hydrolysis products were analyzed by use of an automated amino acid analyzer. Leucine, proline, and glycine were absorbed by the intestine at a significantly higher rate from the tetrapeptide than from an equivalent amino acid mixture. The analysis of the hydrolytic products in the lumen during in vivo perfusion of the tetrapeptide showed that two dipeptides, Leu-Pro and Gly-Gly, were the major products. These two dipeptides were also the major hydrolytic products when a purified rat intestinal brush border membrane preparation was incubated with Leu-Pro-Gly-Gly. The rate of hydrolysis of the tetrapeptide was much higher than that for several other proline-containing peptides (Leu-Pro, Pro-Leu, and Pro-Gly-Gly) that were tested. Studies using Gly-Pro-beta-naphthylamide, a specific substrate for postproline dipeptidyl aminopeptidase IV, showed that this enzyme is mainly localized to the brush border membrane and is responsible for the hydrolysis of the tetrapeptide into the two dipeptides Leu-Pro and Gly-Gly. Thus, brush border membrane dipeptidyl aminopeptidase IV very likely plays an important role at the intestinal mucosal cell surface in the final stages of digestion of proline-containing peptides.


A Morita, Y C Chung, H J Freeman, R H Erickson, M H Sleisenger, Y S Kim


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