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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Jun 25;93(13):6808-13.

Molecular cloning of the first metazoan beta-1,3 glucanase from eggs of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus.

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  • 1Developmental Cell and Molecular Biology Group, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.


We report the molecular cloning of the first beta-1,3 glucanase from animal tissue. Three peptide sequences were obtained from beta-1,3 glucanase that had been purified from eggs of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus and the gene was cloned by PCR using oligonucleotides deduced from the peptide sequences. The full-length cDNA shows a predicted enzyme structure of 499 aa with a hydrophobic signal sequence. A 3.2-kb message is present in eggs, during early embryogenesis, and in adult gut tissue. A polyclonal antibody to the native 68-kDa enzyme recognizes a single band during early embryogenesis that reappears in the adult gut, and recognizes a 57-kDa fusion protein made from a full-length cDNA clone for beta-1,3 glucanase. The identity of this molecule as beta-1,3 glucanase is confirmed by sequence homology, by the presence of all three peptide sequences in the deduced amino acid sequence, and by the recognition of the bacterial fusion protein by the antibody directed against the native enzyme. Data base searches show significant homology at the amino acid level to beta-1,3 glucanases from two species of bacteria and a clotting factor from the horseshoe crab. The homology with the bacteria is centered in a 304-aa region in which there are seven scattered regions of high homology between the four divergent species. These four species were also found to have two homologous regions in common with more distantly related plant, fungal, and bacterial proteins. A global phylogeny based on these regions strongly suggests that the glucanases are a very ancient family of genes. In particular, there is an especially deep split within genes taken from the bacterial genus Bacillus.

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