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1.  The major leucyl aminopeptidase of Trypanosoma cruzi (LAPTc) assembles into a homohexamer and belongs to the M17 family of metallopeptidases 
BMC Biochemistry  2011;12:46.
Pathogens depend on peptidase activities to accomplish many physiological processes, including interaction with their hosts, highlighting parasitic peptidases as potential drug targets. In this study, a major leucyl aminopeptidolytic activity was identified in Trypanosoma cruzi, the aetiological agent of Chagas disease.
The enzyme was isolated from epimastigote forms of the parasite by a two-step chromatographic procedure and associated with a single 330-kDa homohexameric protein as determined by sedimentation velocity and light scattering experiments. Peptide mass fingerprinting identified the enzyme as the predicted T. cruzi aminopeptidase EAN97960. Molecular and enzymatic analysis indicated that this leucyl aminopeptidase of T. cruzi (LAPTc) belongs to the peptidase family M17 or leucyl aminopeptidase family. LAPTc has a strong dependence on neutral pH, is mesophilic and retains its oligomeric form up to 80°C. Conversely, its recombinant form is thermophilic and requires alkaline pH.
LAPTc is a 330-kDa homohexameric metalloaminopeptidase expressed by all T. cruzi forms and mediates the major parasite leucyl aminopeptidolytic activity. Since biosynthetic pathways for essential amino acids, including leucine, are lacking in T. cruzi, LAPTc could have a function in nutritional supply.
PMCID: PMC3179936  PMID: 21861921
2.  Characterization of a β-glucanase produced by Rhizopus microsporus var. microsporus, and its potential for application in the brewing industry 
BMC Biochemistry  2006;7:23.
In the barley malting process, partial hydrolysis of β-glucans begins with seed germination. However, the endogenous 1,3-1,4-β-glucanases are heat inactivated, and the remaining high molecular weight β-glucans may cause severe problems such as increased brewer mash viscosity and turbidity. Increased viscosity impairs pumping and filtration, resulting in lower efficiency, reduced yields of extracts, and lower filtration rates, as well as the appearance of gelatinous precipitates in the finished beer. Therefore, the use of exogenous β-glucanases to reduce the β-glucans already present in the malt barley is highly desirable.
The zygomycete microfungus Rhizopus microsporus var. microsporus secreted substantial amounts of β-glucanase in liquid culture medium containing 0.5% chitin. An active protein was isolated by gel filtration and ion exchange chromatographies of the β-glucanase activity-containing culture supernatant. This isolated protein hydrolyzed 1,3-1,4-β-glucan (barley β-glucan), but showed only residual activity against 1,3-β-glucan (laminarin), or no activity at all against 1,4-β-glucan (cellulose), indicating that the R. microsporus var. microsporus enzyme is a member of the EC category. The purified protein had a molecular mass of 33.7 kDa, as determined by mass spectrometry. The optimal pH and temperature for hydrolysis of 1,3-1,4-β-glucan were in the ranges of 4–5, and 50–60°C, respectively. The Km and Vmax values for hydrolysis of β-glucan at pH 5.0 and 50°C were 22.39 mg.mL-1 and 16.46 mg.min-1, respectively. The purified enzyme was highly sensitive to Cu+2, but showed less or no sensitivity to other divalent ions, and was able to reduce both the viscosity and the filtration time of a sample of brewer mash. In comparison to the values determined for the mash treated with two commercial glucanases, the relative viscosity value for the mash treated with the 1,3-1,4-β-glucanase produced by R. microsporus var. microsporus. was determined to be consistently lower.
The zygomycete microfungus R. microsporus var. microsporus produced a 1,3-1,4-β-D-glucan 4-glucanhydrolase (EC which is able to hydrolyze β-D-glucan that contains both the 1,3- and 1,4-bonds (barley β-glucans). Its molecular mass was 33.7 kDa. Maximum activity was detected at pH values in the range of 4–5, and temperatures in the range of 50–60°C. The enzyme was able to reduce both the viscosity of the brewer mash and the filtration time, indicating its potential value for the brewing industry.
PMCID: PMC1712339  PMID: 17147821

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