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Can J Microbiol. 1997 May;43(5):417-24.

Polygalacturonase isolated from the culture of the psychrophilic fungus Sclerotinia borealis.

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Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Japan.


A polygalacturonase was isolated from the culture medium of Sclerotinia borealis, a psychrophilic fungus that grows on lawn and wheat seedling under the snow in winter and induces the snow mold disease. Pectic acid was a better substrate of this enzyme than pectin when the activity was determined by measuring the reducing sugar produced. However, when the activity was measured by viscosity change, the viscosity of pectin decreased more rapidly than that of pectic acid. The results of viscosity change apparently indicate that the polygalacturonase catalyzes pectin hydrolysis as an endo-type enzyme. Highly methyl-esterified pectin was a poor substrate, as determined by measurements of reducing sugar production and viscosity change. It is suggested from the results that the methoxy group of pectin affects the polygalacturonase reaction. A reaction mechanism was proposed for the polygalacturonase reaction. Molecular mass of this enzyme was 40 kDa and its isoelectric point was pH 7.5. Optimum pH of the enzyme reaction was 4.5 and its optimum temperature was 40-50 degrees C. Thirty percent of the maximum activity was observed at 5 degrees C, but it was only slightly active above 60 degrees C. The activity was preserved for more than 2 years at 5 degrees C and pH 4.5, but it was lost when kept at room temperature overnight or heated at 50 degrees C for 30 min. The amino acid sequence of the N-terminal region of the psychrophilic polygalacturonase of Sclerotinia borealis is compared with those of polygalacturonases of mesophilic fungi. The function of this enzyme against the target plants is discussed with reference to the reaction of polygalacturonases of mesophilic fungi.

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