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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1990 Jul;56(7):1992-8.

Characterization of sodium dodecyl sulfate-resistant proteolytic activity in the hyperthermophilic archaebacterium Pyrococcus furiosus.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21218.


Cell extracts from Pyrococcus furiosus were found to contain five proteases, two of which (S66 and S102) are resistant to sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) denaturation. Cell extracts incubated at 98 degrees C in the presence of 1% SDS for 24 h exhibited substantial cellular proteolysis such that only four proteins could be visualized by amido black-Coomassie brilliant blue staining of SDS-polyacrylamide gels. The SDS-treated extract retained 19% of the initial proteolytic activity as represented by two proteases, S66 (66 kilodaltons [kDa]) and S102 (102 kDa). Immunoblot analysis with guinea pig sera containing antibodies against protease S66 indicated that S66 is related neither to S102 nor to the other proteases. The results of this analysis also suggest that S66 might be the hydrolysis product of a 200-kDa precursor which does not have proteolytic activity. The 24-h SDS-treated extract showed unusually thermostable proteolytic activity; the measured half-life at 98 degrees C was found to be 33 h. Proteases S66 and S102 were also resistant to denaturation by 8 M urea, 80 mM dithiothreitol, and 5% beta-mercaptoethanol. Purified protease S66 was inhibited by phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride and diisopropyl fluorophosphate but not by EDTA, ethylene glycol-bis(beta-aminoethyl ether)-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid, or iodoacetic acid. These results indicate that S66 is a serine protease. Amino acid ester hydrolysis studies showed that protease S66 was hydrolytically active towards N-benzoyl-L-arginine ethyl ester.

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