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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Purification and characterization of an alkaline elastase from Myxococcus xanthus.

An extracellular elastase, termed Myxococcus xanthus alkaline protease 1 ( MAP1), has been purified from M. xanthus DK1622 culture supernatants by a combination of ion-exchange and affinity chromatographies. It consists of a single peptide chain of 39 kDa. The elastolytic activity was totally suppressed by 10 mM 1,10-phenanthroline and the enzyme may then be classified as a metalloprotease. Its pH optimum was estimated to be 8.2 with both elastin-orcein and succinyl-Ala3 p-nitroanilide as substrates. Despite its low pI (5.2), MAP1 was adsorbed on elastin at 80%, a result which privileges hydrophobic interactions between MAP1 and elastin rather than salt bridges, as for known basic elastases. About 80% of the original amidasic and elastolytic activities were conserved after a 30-min prior incubation of the enzyme at 40 degrees C; however, 70% of the amidasic activity is measured, instead of 15% for the elastolytic activity, after 30 min at 50 degrees C. Thermal denaturation at this temperature may prevent adsorption of the enzyme on elastin without any important change of the elastase structure. MAP1 readily hydrolyzes the Gly23-Phe24 bond in the oxidized insulin B chain; the peptide bonds Ala14-Leu15, Leu15-Tyr16, Phe24-Phe25, Phe25-Tyr26 are also cleaved, suggesting a primary specificity of the enzyme for hydrophobic or aromatic residues at the first amino acid towards the C-terminus from the cleavage site (P'1 position) [Schechter, I. & Berger, A. (1967) Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 27, 157-162]. This hypothesis is consistent with the fact that Ala2-Phe-Ala and Ala3-Phe-Ala are hydrolyzed even though tri-alanine to hexa-alanine oligomers are not. The evidence of an elastase with the same molecular mass and pI as MAP1 is given during fruiting body development in submerged culture of M. xanthus. The fact that aromatic amino acids have been found to be the most representative of A-signal [Kuspa, A., Plamann, L. & Kaiser, D. (1992) J. Bacteriol. 174, 3319-3326] is consistent with the hypothesis that, regarding its specificity, MAP1 is likely to play a role in development of myxobacteria.[1]


  1. Purification and characterization of an alkaline elastase from Myxococcus xanthus. Dumont, L., Verneuil, B., Wallach, J., Julien, R. Eur. J. Biochem. (1994) [Pubmed]
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