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Fungal Biol. 2013 Mar;117(3):173-81. doi: 10.1016/j.funbio.2013.01.005. Epub 2013 Jan 29.

A novel serine protease with caspase- and legumain-like activities from edible basidiomycete Flammulina velutipes.

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Department of Biological Science, Faculty of Science, Shizuoka University, 422-8529 Shizuoka, Japan.


A serine protease with caspase- and legumain-like activities from basidiocarps of the edible basidiomycete Flammulina velutipes was characterized. The protease was purified to near homogeneity by three steps of chromatography using acetyl-Tyr-Val-Ala-Asp-4-methylcoumaryl-7-amide (Ac-YVAD-MCA) as a substrate. The enzyme was termed FvSerP (F. velutipes serine protease). This enzyme activity was completely inhibited by the caspase-specific inhibitor, Ac-YVAD-CHO, as well as moderately inhibited by serine protease inhibitors. Based on the N-terminal sequence, the cDNA of FvSerP was identified. The deduced protease sequence was a peptide composed of 325 amino acids with a molecular mass of 34.5 kDa. The amino acid sequence of FvSerP showed similarity to neither caspases nor to the plant subtilisin-like serine protease with caspase-like activity called saspase. FvSerP shared identity to the functionally unknown genes from class of Agaricomycetes, with similarity to the peptidase S41 domain of a serine protease. It was thus concluded that this enzyme is likely a novel serine protease with caspase- and legumain-like activities belonging to the peptidase S41 family and distributed in the class Agaricomycetes. This enzyme possibly functions in autolysis, a type of programmed cell death that occurs in the later stages of development of basidiocarps with reference to their enzymatic functions.

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