GSP (germination-specific protease) converts the spore peptidoglycan hydrolase (SleC) precursor to an active enzyme during germination of Clostridium perfringens S40 spores. Analysis of an enzyme fraction of GSP showed that it was composed of a gene cluster containing the processed forms of products of cspA, cspB, and cspC which are positioned in a tandem array just upstream of the 5' end of sleC. The amino acid sequences deduced from the nucleotide sequences of the csp genes showed significant similarity and showed a high degree of homology with those of the catalytic domain and the oxyanion binding region of subtilisin-like serine proteases. Members of the peptidases S8 and S35 clan include endopeptidases, exopeptidases and also a tripeptidyl-peptidase. The S8 family has an Asp/His/Ser catalytic triad similar to that found in trypsin-like proteases, but do not share their three-dimensional structure and are not homologous to trypsin. The S53 family contains a catalytic triad Glu/Asp/Ser. The stability of these enzymes may be enhanced by calcium, some members have been shown to bind up to 4 ions via binding sites with different affinity. Some members of this clan contain disulfide bonds. These enzymes can be intra- and extracellular, some function at extreme temperatures and pH values.