Structure and Expression of Aminopeptidase N

  • Jørgen Olsen
  • Klaus Kokholm
  • Ove Norén
  • Hans Sjöström
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 421)


Aminopeptidase N (APN) is a very abundant membrane protein in the microvillar membrane of the small intestinal absorptive epithelial cell the enterocyte 1, 2. APN is an ectopeptidase and from its position in the brush border membrane it faces the small intestinal lumen. The enzyme is therefore readily supplied with substrate molecules in the form of oligopeptides derived from nutritional proteins following the actions of gastric and pancreatic proteases. It is generally accepted that the physiological function of APN (and other brush border peptidases) is to convert oligopeptides in the small intestinal lumen into amino acids which can subsequently be absorbed by amino acid carriers. Besides the small intestine APN is also found in a wide variety of other tissues such as the endometrium3, the kidney, the spleen and the brain 2. The physiological role of APN in these alternative locations is unknown but it has been suggested that APN might be involved in the degradation of regulatory peptides2. In the recent years the realisation that APN is expressed in cells of the immune system has lent support to the idea that APN might be involved in the processing of antigens4.


Small Intestinal Lumen HEXXH Motif Human Coronavirus 229E Abundant Membrane Protein pepN Gene 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jørgen Olsen
    • 1
  • Klaus Kokholm
    • 1
  • Ove Norén
    • 1
  • Hans Sjöström
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical Biochemistry and Genetics Biochemistry Laboratory C, The Panum InstituteUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen NDenmark

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