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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 1996 Oct;28(10):1123-30.

Geotrichum candidum P-5 produces an intracellular serine protease resembling chymotrypsin.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Biochemistry, University of Orange Free State Bloemfontein, South Africa.


A wide range of intra- and extracellular microbial proteases has been studied and characterized. These enzymes are mostly extracellular and in some cases they may resemble 'classical' serine proteases. As part of a programme in which the lipase and protease activities of the fungus Geotrichum candidum are being studied, an intracellular protease with an apparent chymotrypsin-like specificity was detected. The serine protease was isolated from biomass using ion-exchange and exclusion chromatography. Kinetic characterization was done using a series of synthetic substrates and inhibitors. Aprotinin-sepharose affinity chromatography was used to isolate a fraction for molecular size determination on SDS-PAGE. The purified protease, which could hydrolyse haemoglobin as protein substrate, was obtained with a 30-fold purification and a yield of 44%, but it was very unstable and rapidly lost activity. The enzyme which bound to the affinity column had a single subunit mass of 278 kDa. Kinetic analysis showed a similarity with trypsin and chymotrypsin, but tending more towards chymotrypsin in that a bulky aromatic group, e.g. phenylalanine in the P1 position, was preferred. The optimum pH was in the region of 7-8.25. Inhibition patterns indicated that the enzyme was a serine protease with no metal dependence, although it was stabilized by magnesium ions. The enzyme seems to share some properties with other intra- and extracellular microbial serine proteases. The exact function of the enzymatic activity is still unclear, but it is suggested that it may be involved with intracellular protein turnover.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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