Altered neuropeptide processing in prefrontal cortex of Cpe (fat/fat) mice: implications for neuropeptide discovery

J Neurochem. 2006 Feb;96(4):1169-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2005.03614.x. Epub 2006 Jan 17.


The biosynthesis of most neuropeptides and peptide hormones requires a carboxypeptidase such as carboxypeptidase E, which is inactive in Cpe(fat/fat) mice due to a naturally occurring point mutation. To assess the role of carboxypeptidase E in the processing of peptides in the prefrontal cortex, we used a quantitative peptidomics approach to examine the relative levels of peptides in Cpe(fat/fat) versus wild-type mice. Peptides representing internal fragments of prohormones and other secretory pathway proteins were decreased two- to 10-fold in the Cpe(fat/fat) mouse prefrontal cortex compared with wild-type tissue. Degradation fragments of cytosolic proteins showed no major differences between Cpe(fat/fat) and wild-type mice. Based on this observation, a search strategy for neuropeptides was performed by screening for peptides that decreased in the Cpe(fat/fat) mouse. Altogether, 32 peptides were identified, of which seven have not been previously reported. The novel peptides include fragments of VGF, procholecystokinin and prohormone convertase 2. Interestingly, several of the peptides do not fit with the consensus sites for prohormone convertase 1 and 2, raising the possibility that another endopeptidase is involved with their biosynthesis. Taken together, these findings support the proposal that carboxypeptidase E is the major, but not the only, peptide-processing carboxypeptidase and also demonstrate the feasibility of searching for novel peptides based on their decrease in Cpe(fat/fat) mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Carboxypeptidases / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neuropeptides / chemistry
  • Neuropeptides / genetics
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism*
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism*


  • Neuropeptides
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Carboxypeptidases