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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 April 2009
Detergent extracts of Trypanosoma cruzi epimastigotes catalysed the hydrolysis of a range of amino-acyl and peptidyl p-nitro-anilides and aminomethylcoumarins. At least three enzymes were detected that cleave Z–Phe–Arg–MCA. Two of these were optimally active at alkaline pH, the other at pH 4·0. Of the two enzymes with alkaline pH optima, one was a cysteine peptidase and was unable to cleave Bz–Arg–MCA readily, whilst the other cleaved Bz–Arg–MCA and was inhibited by diisopropyl fluorophosphate. The acidic enzyme was similar to cathespin L of other eukayrotes with respect to its pH profile, substrate-specificity and inhibitor-sensitivity. Evidence was presented that epimastigotes contain a cysteine-type dipeptidyl aminopeptidase, one or more aminopeptidases, and a serine peptidase that cleaves Boc–Ala–Ala–pNA. Digitonin solubilization of the activities from cells supports the hypothesis that the cathespin L-like enzyme and the dipeptidyl aminopeptidase are lysosomal, whilst the Bz–Arg–MCA hydrolase, the aminopeptidases and the Boc–Ala–Ala–pNA serine peptidase are cytosolic.