Digestion of insoluble porcine elastin with thermolysin produces a number of discrete small peptides. That present in highest concentration is the pentapeptide valyl-glycyl-valyl-prolyl-glycine (VGVPG) derived from the portion of the polymer containing extensive repeats of this sequence. Among eukaryotes, this sequence appears to be found only in elastin and its precursor tropoelastin. In the pig this is represented by peptide W4 of a tropoelastin tryptic digest (Sandberg, L.B., et al. Path. Biol. 33, 266-274, 1985). Quantitation of this peptide by HPLC separation, monitoring its absorption at 212 nm, offers a simple reliable means of measuring purified insoluble elastin as well as non-purified elastin in fat-free tissue samples. Digestion times and incubation temperatures are discussed. The method is sensitive enough to accurately quantitate elastin at the 2 to 3 μg level. © 1986.
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