The moonlighting enzyme CD13: old and new functions to target

Trends Mol Med. 2008 Aug;14(8):361-71. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2008.06.003. Epub 2008 Jul 5.


Aminopeptidase N (CD13) is a widely expressed ectoenzyme with functions that do not always depend on its enzymatic activity: an aspect that has been overlooked. Numerous CD13-targeting tools have been developed in the last few years. Several of them are already undergoing clinical trials, and there are promising reports on the effectiveness of others in animal models of disease. However, their efficacy might be obscured by their effects on unrecognized functions of CD13, resulting in unexpected complications. The purpose of this review is (i) to discuss the various functions ascribed to CD13 and the possible mechanisms behind them and (ii) to consider some of the questions that need to be answered to achieve a better understanding of the biological relevance of these functions, a more precise interpretation of the results obtained after their manipulation and a more rational design of CD13-targeting agents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD13 Antigens / chemistry
  • CD13 Antigens / genetics
  • CD13 Antigens / metabolism*
  • CD13 Antigens / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Protein Conformation


  • Peptides
  • CD13 Antigens