Bence Jones proteins and light chains of immunoglobulins. XIII. Effect of elastase-like and chymotrypsin-like neutral proteases derived from human granulocytes on Bence Jones proteins.J Immunol. 1976 Sep; 117(3):1010-4.JI
Bence Jones proteins can be cleaved specifically by several types of endopeptidases into fragments corresponding to the amino-terminal, variant (VL) portion and to the carboxyl-terminal, constant (CL) portion of the light polypeptide chain. Two types of neutral proteases, designated elastase-like (ELP) and chymotrypsin-like (CLP), have been isolated and purified from human polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Because these proteases have defined proteolytic activity under physiologic conditions for several types of human proteins, we investigated their effect on human Bence Jones proteins. Incubation of kappa-type or lambda-type Bence Jones proteins with ELP or CLP under appropriate conditions resulted in cleavage of both types of light chains as evident by immunochemical and electrophoretic analyses. Treatment with ELP or CLP of one kappa Bence Jones protein resulted in the formation of a single component that had antigenic and electrophoretic properties similar to the VL fragment derived from pepsin digestion of the native protein. No component corresponding to the CL could be detected immunochemically or electrophoretically. Studies of isolated pepsin-labile (37 degrees C) and pepsin-stable (55 degrees C) CL fragments demonstrated the marked susceptibility of the carboxyl-terminal half of the light chain to proteolysis by the leukocyte-derived neutral proteases. Incubation with ELP of three other kappa Bence Jones proteins and three reduced-alkylated lambda Bence Jones proteins resulted, in each case, in the formation of a homogeneous component which was electrophoretically and immunochemically distinct from the pepsin-derived VL fragment. An identical component could also be formed by incubating a pepsin-derived VL fragment with ELP. In the ELP-treated samples, no CL-related material was detected electrophoretically or immunochemically with antisera possessing specificity for CL antigenic determinants present on the unfolded light polypeptide chain or on the isolated CL. The component formed by ELP or CLP treatment of certain Bence Jones proteins thus appears to be VL-related, but lacks the idiotypic antigenic determinant present on the native protein. In this respect, these neutral protease-derived light chain components are similar to the amyloid-like VL fragments generated in vitro from certain endopeptidase-treated Bence Jones proteins.