To further analyze CD10/NEP function in lymphoid and nonlymphoid cells using well characterized murine systems, we isolated the murine CD10/NEP homologue, determined its chromosomal location, and modeled the enzyme's active site. The murine CD10/NEP cDNA predicts a 750-amino acid (aa) type II integral membrane protein with 90% identity to the human CD10 sequence and 100% conservation of critical aa and functional motifs. The latter include the pentapeptide consensus sequence required for zinc binding and catalytic activity, additional aa associated with substrate binding, and the extracellular cysteines that participate in disulfide bonds required for enzymatic activity. Like its human homologue, murine CD10/NEP has multiple alternative 5'-untranslated region sequences. The gene is localized on the proximal half of murine chromosome 3. In Northern analysis, murine CD10/NEP transcripts are abundant in bone marrow stromal cells that support pre-B cell differentiation but are undetectable in representative Abelson transformed pre-B cell lines. The murine CD10/NEP active site was modeled by aligning critical conserved CD10/NEP residues with comparable residues in the active site of thermolysin, a bacterial metalloprotease with similar substrate specificity. The model predicts that the two enzymes have similar clefts that comprise the active site and permit zinc-dependent substrate interactions.

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