Angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE, peptidyl dipeptidase, EC 126.96.36.199) is a key enzyme in cardiovascular pathophysiology. A wide spectrum of monoclonal antibodies to different epitopes on the N and C domains of human ACE has been used to study different aspects of ACE biology. In this study we characterized the monoclonal antibody (mAb) 5F1, developed against the N domain of human ACE, which recognizes both the catalytically active and the denatured forms of ACE. The epitope for mAb 5F1 was defined using species cross-reactivity, synthetic peptide (PepScan technology) and phage display library screening, Western blotting, site-directed mutagenesis, and protein modeling. The epitope for mAb 5F1 shows no overlap with the epitopes of seven other mAbs to the N domain described previously and is localized on the other side of the N domain globule. The binding of mAb 5F1 to ACE is carbohydrate-dependent and increased significantly as a result of altered glycosylation after treatment with α-glucosidase-1 inhibitor, N-butyldeoxynojirimycin (NB-DNJ), or neuraminidase. Out of 17 species tested, mAb 5F1 showed strict primate ACE specificity. In addition, mAb 5F1 recognized human ACE in Western blots and on paraffin-embedded sections. The sequential part of the epitope for mAb 5F1 is created by the N-terminal part of the N domain, between residues 1 and 141. A conformational region of the epitope was also identified, including the residues around the glycan attached to Asn117, which explains the sensitivity to changes in glycosylation state, and another stretch localized around the motif 454TPPSRYN460. Site-directed mutagensis and inhibition assays revealed that mAb 5F1 inhibits ACE activity at high concentrations due to binding of residues on both sides of the active site cleft, thus supporting a hinge-bending mechanism for substrate binding of ACE.
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