Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) is a cardiac hormone essential for the regulation of blood pressure. In cardiac myocytes, ANP is synthesized as a precursor, pro-ANP, that is converted to biologically active ANP by an unknown membrane-associated protease. Recently, we cloned a transmembrane serine protease, corin, that is highly expressed in the heart. In this study, we examine effects of corin on pro-ANP processing. Our results show that recombinant human corin converts pro-ANP to ANP and that the cleavage in pro-ANP by corin is highly sequence specific. Our findings suggest that corin is the long-sought pro-ANP-converting enzyme and that the corin-mediated pro-ANP activation may play a role in regulating blood pressure
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