Characterization of pure human renal renin. Evidence for a subunit structure

J Biol Chem. 1987 Jan 25;262(3):1037-43.


Renin was completely purified from human kidney cortex employing a rapid three-step procedure which included homogenization and ammonium sulfate precipitation, aminohexyl-pepstatin affinity chromatography, and affinity chromatography using a synthetic octapeptide renin inhibitor (H-77) with a reduced peptide bond (-CH2-NH- instead of -CO-NH-) between Leu5-Leu6, Three kg of cortex dissected from 10 kg of human cadaver kidney yielded 1.7 +/- 0.5 mg of protein (mean +/- S.E. for five procedures) with a specific activity of 1094 +/- 166 Goldblatt units/mg of protein and an overall recovery of 52 +/- 2%. Both gel filtration high performance liquid chromatography and sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) revealed a molecular weight of 44,000, although Mr = 22,000 and 18,000 bands were also identified by SDS-PAGE. The pH optima with sheep angiotensinogen were 5.5 and 7.8 and the Km was 0.31 microM. With pure human substrate the pH optimum was 6.0 and the Km was 1.15 microM. Enzyme activity was inhibited by two different anti-human renal renin antibodies. Amino-terminal sequencing demonstrated a leucine residue at the 1-position. Sequencing of 15 additional amino acids agreed with that predicted from the gene sequence and indicated that prorenin is converted to renin following cleavage at the carboxyl end of two basic residues, Lys-2 Arg-1. As with SDS-PAGE analysis, high performance liquid chromatography in the presence of 6 M urea demonstrated Mr = 44,000, 22,000, and 18,000 bands. Immunoblot studies revealed that all of these bands cross-reacted with antihuman renin antibody. Amino-terminal sequencing indicated the Mm = 22,000 band is the amino terminus and the Mr = 18,000 band the carboxyl terminus of Mr = 44,000 renin. In the aqueous phase, these subunits bound to H-77 suggesting that they represent components of the active enzyme complex. Unlike mouse renin, there was no evidence of disulfide bonds. These results raise the question of whether human renin circulates as a subunit aggregation as well as a single chain protein. This may serve as a possible mechanism to regulate renin activity in plasma and tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Angiotensin II / metabolism
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemical Precipitation
  • Chemistry, Physical
  • Chromatography, Affinity
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Kidney Cortex / enzymology*
  • Molecular Weight
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Renin / isolation & purification*
  • Renin / metabolism


  • Peptide Fragments
  • Angiotensin II
  • Renin