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We found previously that dipeptide YL exhibits orally active anxiolytic activity comparable to diazepam. The YL sequence is often observed in the primary structure of natural food proteins. In the present study, we investigated whether YL and YL analogues are released from bovine αS-casein by gastrointestinal proteases. YLG, corresponding to αS1-casein (aa 91-93), was more effectively released from αS-casein than YL by pepsin-pancreatin digestion, mimicking gastrointestinal enzymatic conditions. Using the synthetic model peptide, we determined that trypsin cleaved the N terminus of YLG, and elastase and carboxypeptidase contributed to cleave the C-terminus. YLG exhibited orally active anxiolytic-like activity in the elevated plus maze and open-field tests in mice. The anxiolytic-like activity of YLG was inhibited by WAY100135, SCH23390 or bicuculline, antagonists of serotonin 5-HT1A, dopamine D1, and GABA(A) receptors, respectively; however, YLG had no affinity for these receptors. The pepsin-pancreatin digest of αS-Casein also exhibited anxiolytic-like activity. Meanwhile, anxiolytic-like activity of α-casozepine, an αS1-casein-derived decapeptide with YL sequence in the N terminus, was blocked by WAY100135, SCH23390, or bicuculline, equally to YLG and YL; however, it was not detected in the pepsin-pancreatic digest. Taken together, we found that YLG is released after pepsin-pancreatic digestion of αS-casein and exhibits potent anxiolytic-like activity via activation of serotonin, dopamine, and the GABA receptor system.


Takafumi Mizushige, Yurina Sawashi, Ayako Yamada, Ryuhei Kanamoto, Kousaku Ohinata. Characterization of Tyr-Leu-Gly, a novel anxiolytic-like peptide released from bovine αS-casein. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 2013 Jul;27(7):2911-7

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PMID: 23580614

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