Molecular studies define the primary structure of α1-antichymotrypsin (ACT) protease inhibitor in Alzheimer's disease brains. Comparison of act in hippocampus and liver

Shin Rong Hwang, Brent Steineckert, Andrea Kohn, Miklos Palkovits, Vivian Y.H. Hook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)


An α1-antichymotrypsin-like serpin has been implicated in Alzheimer's disease (AD) based on immunochemical detection of α1-antichymotrypsin (ACT) in amyloid plaques from the hippocampus of AD brains. The presence of neuroendocrine isoforms of ACTs and reported variations in human liver ACT cDNA sequences raise the question of the molecular identity of ACT in brain. In this study, direct reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and cDNA sequencing indicate that the hippocampus ACT possesses the reactive site loop that is characteristic of serpins, with Leu as the predicted P1 residue interacting with putative chymotrypsin-like target proteases. The deduced primary sequence of the human hippocampus ACT possesses more than 90% homology with reported primary sequences for the human liver ACT. Moreover, identical ACT primary sequences deduced from the cDNAs were demonstrated in the hippocampus of control and AD brains. Northern blots showed that ACT mRNA expression in hippocampus was 900 times lower than that in liver. Also, hippocampus and liver ACT proteins demonstrated differential sensitivities to deglycosylation. Overall, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction combined with cDNA and primary sequence analyses have defined the molecular identity of human hippocampus ACT in control and AD brains. The determined reactive site loop domain of hippocampus ACT will allow prediction of potential target proteases inhibited by ACT in AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1821-1827
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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