1. Two new assay methods were developed for the lens proteinase. In both, the substrate was alpha2-crystallin (a major lens protein); in the first method, the products were detected by reaction with trinitrobenzenesulphonate in the presence of SO32-, whereas in the second method, 3H-labelled substrate was used, and the products were detected as radioactivity soluble in trichloroacetic acid. 2. The neutral proteinase from bovine lens was partially purified by extraction of the lens at pH5.0 and column chromatography on hydroxyapatite and Sepharose 6B gel. 3. The purified enzyme had no detectable activity against haemoglobin, azo-casein or gamma-crystallin under optimum conditions for alpha2-crystallin. 4. The enzyme showed greatest activity and stability at pH7.5. It was reversibly inhibited by EDTA and 1,10-phenanthroline, and activated by Ca2+ and Mg2+. 5. Molecular weights obtained for the enzyme by chromatography on Sepharose 6B were approx. 500,000 in buffer of I = 0.02, and 250,000 at I = 1.02. 6. The properties of the purified lens proteinase are such as to suggest that this enzyme could account for the entire endopeptidase activity of the lens.
- © 1975 London: The Biochemical Society