Renin-binding protein (RnBP) is a highly specific renin inhibitor first isolated from porcine kidney. Our recent studies demonstrated that the human RnBP is the enzyme N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (GlcNAc) 2-epimerase [Takahashi, S. et al. (1999) J. Biochem. 125, 348-353]. We have developed a new assay method for GlcNAc 2-epimerase activity using a system of N-acyl-D-hexosamine oxidase coupled with peroxidase and employed this method to study the effects of renin on GlcNAc 2-epimerase activity. The recombinant human (rh) RnBP existed as a dimer and its GlcNAc 2-epimerase activity was strongly inhibited by the purified renin concomitant with the formation of RnBP-renin heterodimer, so-called high molecular weight (HMW) renin. The renin activity was also inhibited by rhRnBP in a dose-dependent manner. These results indicate that renin is an inhibitor of GlcNAc 2-epimerase, and the renin-RnBP heterodimer HMW renin is an inactive form of both renin and GlcNAc 2-epimerase activities.