SUMMARY: A method comprising enzyme separation by SDS-PAGE and subsequent use of peptidyl aminomethylcoumarins as substrates has been used to study proteinases of the protozoan parasite . The application of this method has allowed investigation of the substrate specificities of individual proteinases in cell lysates without the need for enzyme purification. The results show that contains a group of cysteine proteinases, probably four in number, with substrate and inhibitor specificities similar to those of cathepsin L. A second group of proteinases, larger enzymes with significantly different substrate specificities and sensitivity to inhibitors, was also detected. Peptidyl diazomethanes inhibited the cysteine proteinases and also parasite growth, offering promise that peculiarities in the substrate specificity of trypanosomal cysteine proteinases could be exploited by compounds of this type.


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