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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1993 Dec 30;197(3):1340-7.

Purification and characterization of a strong fibrinolytic enzyme (nattokinase) in the vegetable cheese natto, a popular soybean fermented food in Japan.

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Biotechnology Research Laboratories, JCR Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd., Kobe, Japan.


A strong fibrinolytic enzyme (nattokinase) was purified from the vegetable cheese natto. Nattokinase was extracted from natto with saline and isolated by sequential use of hydrophobic chromatography on Butyl-Toyopearl, ion-exchange chromatography on CM-Toyopearl, and gel-filtration on Sephadex G-50. The isolated protein gave a single sharp band on SDS-PAGE either before or after reduction. The sequence, as determined by automated Edman degradation of the uncleaved molecule and its enzymatically derived peptide, consisted of a total 275 amino acid residues (M.W = 27,728) and exhibited a high homology with the subtilisins. The purified nattokinase digested not only fibrin but also several synthetic substrates. Among the synthetic substrates, the most sensitive substrate was Suc-Ala-Ala-Pro-Phe-pNA for subtilisin. PMSF inhibited both the fibrinolytic activity and the amidolytic activity. The results indicate that nattokinase is a subtilisin-like serine protease.

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