Atrial natriuretic factor-(Asn1-Tyr126)-peptide, the 13.6 kDa propeptide of atrial natriuretic factor (ANF), is stored in the secretory granules of atrial cardiocytes. ANF-(Ser99-Tyr126)-peptide, the 28-amino-acid species, is the circulating form of this hormone in the rat. As the site of maturation of the prohormone is still unknown, the present study was undertaken to understand the contribution of the circulation to the maturation process of pro-ANF. 125I-ANF-(Asn1-Tyr126)-peptide was incubated with whole rat blood, plasma or serum for different time intervals, and the products were analysed. There was minimal activation of the propeptide in either whole blood or plasma. Incubation with serum, however, resulted in the formation of an 11 kDa and a 3 kDa peptide which corresponded respectively to the N-terminal and C-terminal parts of the propeptide. These results suggest that hydrolysis of the propeptide in serum is brought about by enzymes that may be stimulated during coagulation but which may not play a major role in the activation of pro-ANF in the circulation. Plasma analysis at different time intervals after prohormone injection indicated a non-specific hydrolysis of the pro-ANF molecule. The disappearance rate curves, obtained with radiolabelled pro-ANF, suggested the presence of two components with half-lives of 2.1 +/- 0.4 min and 52.5 +/- 8.4 min respectively. A metabolic clearance rate of 1.49 +/- 0.22 ml/min and an initial distribution volume of 47.4 +/- 8 ml were calculated. These results indicate that the maturation of pro-ANF to its active circulating form takes place before it is released into the circulation.
- © 1988 London: The Biochemical Society