Cathepsin L (CTSL1) is also known as major excreted protein (MEP), is a member of the peptidase C1 family, is a dimer composed of disulfide-linked heavy and light chains linked by disulfide bonds. CTSL1 is a lysosomal cysteine proteinase that plays a major role in intracellular protein catabolism. Its substrates include collagen and elastin, as well as alpha-1 protease inhibitor, a major controlling element of neutrophil elastase activity. MEP has been implicated in several pathologic processes, including myofibril necrosis in myopathies and in myocardial ischemia, and in the renal tubular response to proteinuria. CTSL1 is important for the overall degradation of proteins in lysosomes. The specificity of MEP is close to that of papain. As compared to cathepsin B, cathepsin L exhibits higher activity toward protein substrates, but has little activity on Z - Arg ¨C Arg ¨C NHMec, and no peptidyl - dipeptidase activity. Human Cathepsin L activity is greatest under mildly acidic conditions, from pH 4.5
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