Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
The Bacillus cereus cnp gene coding for the thermolysin-like neutral protease (TNP) has been cloned, sequenced, and expressed in Bacillus subtilis. The protease is first produced as a pre-pro-protein (Mr= 61000); the pro-peptide is approximately two-thirds of the size of the mature protein. The pro-sequence has been compared with those of six other TNPs, and significant homologies have been found. Additionally, the TNP pro-sequences are shown to be homologous to the pro-sequence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa elastase. A mutant has been constructed from cnp, in which 23 amino acids upstream from the pro-protein processing site have been deleted. This region has no homologous analogue in any of the other TNP pro-sequences. The detection results in a delay of six to eight hours in detection of active protease in the growth medium, as well as a 75% decrease in maximum protease production. N-terminal analysis of the mutant mature protein demonstrates that the processing site is unaltered by the pro-sequence deletion. The deletion must, therefore, modulate the kinetics of processing and/or secretion of the pro-protein.
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