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Keywords:

  • Carboxypeptidase;
  • Metallopeptidase

Carboxypeptidases (CPs) perform many diverse physiological functions by removing C-terminal amino acids from proteins and peptides. Some CPs function in the degradation of proteins in the digestive tract while other enzymes play biosynthetic roles in the formation of neuropeptides and peptide hormones. Another set of CPs modify tubulin by removing amino acids from the C-terminus and from polyglutamyl side chains, thereby altering the properties of microtubules. This review focuses on three CPs: carboxypeptidase E, carboxypeptidase A6, and cytosolic carboxypeptidase 1. Naturally occurring mutations in all three of these enzymes are associated with disease phenotypes, ranging from obesity to epilepsy to neurodegeneration. Peptidomics is a useful tool to investigate the relationship between these mutations and alterations in peptide levels. This technique has also been used to define the function and characteristics of CPs. Results from peptidomics studies have helped to elucidate the function of CPs and clarify the biological underpinnings of pathologies by identifying peptides altered in disease states. This review describes the use of peptidomic techniques to gain insights into the normal function of CPs and the molecular defects caused by mutations in the enzymes.