Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Process Engineering, Biotechnology, Nutrition Technology
A protease, excreted by a sporogeneous strain of B. megaterium, growing exponentially in a minimum glucose ammonium medium, was isolated. It is a neutral endopeptidase, stabilized by Ca++, inhibited by o-phenanthroline, but not by di-isopropylfluorophosphate. The specificity, studied on insulin B-chain, glucagon, cytochrome c, and dipeptides substrates, indicated the need for a dipeptide backbone with both substituted amino and carboxyl groups. A requirement was observed for a nonpolar lateral chain in the amino acid whose amino group was involved in the peptide bond (Leu, Phe, Ala, He, Val). Rates of hydrolysis varied also with the amino acid whose carboxyl group was involved (e.g., His 〉 Ser 〉 Ala 〉 Gly). In complex medium, supplemented with Yeast Extract, the biosynthesis of the protease was repressed during growth, but the same enzyme was excreted during sporulation. The repression was apparently of the same nature as that controlling sporulation during and after growth (e.g., repression by a mixture of amino acids or high concentration of glucose). An asporogeneous mutant showed a normal product ion of protease under all conditions, and a low intracellular protease turnover after growth. A mutant unable to produce protease showed a normal sporulation and a high protein turnover. This protease, here termed megapeptidase, seems to be a typical growth enzyme, not related to either the sporulation process or to the protein turnover after growth.
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