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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Jun;72(6):4154-62.

Ca2+-dependent maturation of subtilisin from a hyperthermophilic archaeon, Thermococcus kodakaraensis: the propeptide is a potent inhibitor of the mature domain but is not required for its folding.

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  • 1Department of Material and Life Science, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University, 2-1 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


Subtilisin from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Thermococcus kodakaraensis KOD1 is a member of the subtilisin family. T. kodakaraensis subtilisin in a proform (T. kodakaraensis pro-subtilisin), as well as its propeptide (T. kodakaraensis propeptide) and mature domain (T. kodakaraensis mat-subtilisin), were independently overproduced in E. coli, purified, and biochemically characterized. T. kodakaraensis pro-subtilisin was inactive in the absence of Ca2+ but was activated upon autoprocessing and degradation of propeptide in the presence of Ca2+ at 80 degrees C. This maturation process was completed within 30 min at 80 degrees C but was bound at an intermediate stage, in which the propeptide is autoprocessed from the mature domain (T. kodakaraensis mat-subtilisin*) but forms an inactive complex with T. kodakaraensis mat-subtilisin*, at lower temperatures. At 80 degrees C, approximately 30% of T. kodakaraensis pro-subtilisin was autoprocessed into T. kodakaraensis propeptide and T. kodakaraensis mat-subtilisin*, and the other 70% was completely degraded to small fragments. Likewise, T. kodakaraensis mat-subtilisin was inactive in the absence of Ca2+ but was activated upon incubation with Ca2+ at 80 degrees C. The kinetic parameters and stability of the resultant activated protein were nearly identical to those of T. kodakaraensis mat-subtilisin*, indicating that T. kodakaraensis mat-subtilisin does not require T. kodakaraensis propeptide for folding. However, only approximately 5% of T. kodakaraensis mat-subtilisin was converted to an active form, and the other part was completely degraded to small fragments. T. kodakaraensis propeptide was shown to be a potent inhibitor of T. kodakaraensis mat-subtilisin* and noncompetitively inhibited its activity with a Ki of 25 +/- 3.0 nM at 20 degrees C. T. kodakaraensis propeptide may be required to prevent the degradation of the T. kodakaraensis mat-subtilisin molecules that are activated later by those that are activated earlier.

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