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J Biol Chem. 1996 Sep 6;271(36):21944-9.

Characterization of a vacuolar protease in Neurospora crassa and the use of gene RIPing to generate protease-deficient strains.

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Department of Biology, Sinsheimer Labs, University of California, Santa Cruz, California 95064, USA.


We have isolated a gene from Neurospora crassa that appears to encode a pepstatin-sensitive protease found both in membranes and in soluble contents of vacuoles. The gene contains two introns and encodes a 396-residue protein with a molecular mass of 42,900 Da. Because of the similarity of the protein to proteinase A in Saccharomyces cerevisiae the gene has been named pep-4. Strains with mutations in the pep-4 gene were generated in vivo by the gene RIPing procedure described by Selker and Garrett (Selker, E. U., and Garrett, P. W. (1988) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 85, 6870-6874). The mutant strains were deficient in pepstatin-sensitive protease activity and did not appear to produce a major 42-kDa polypeptide in the vacuole. The mutant strains grew at the same rate as the wild type and had no other observable phenotype. When compared with inactivation of the PEP4 gene of S. cerevisiae, inactivation of the pep-4 gene in N. crassa produced a phenotype that was different in several ways. In N. crassa the mutant strains did not exhibit reduced sporulation or reduced viability after nitrogen starvation, and they had elevated levels of proteinase B and carboxypeptidase activities. The pep-4 gene appears to encode the N. crassa, homolog of proteinase A, but the maturation of vacuolar hydrolases appeared to be less dependent on this protease than has been observed in S. cerevisiae.

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