Biochemical and Functional Characterization of a Metalloprotease from the Thermophilic Fungus Thermoascus aurantiacus
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Protease production was carried out in solid state fermentation. The enzyme was purified through precipitation with ethanol at 72% followed by chromatographies in columns of Sephadex G75 and Sephacryl S100. It was purified 80-fold and exhibited recovery of total activity of 0.4%. SDS-PAGE analysis indicated an estimated molecular mass of 24.5 kDa and the N-terminal sequence of the first 22 residues was APYSGYQCSMQLCLTCALMNCA. Purified protease was only inhibited by EDTA (96.7%) and stimulated by Fe(2+) revealing to be a metalloprotease activated by iron. Optimum pH was 5.5, optimum temperature was 75 degrees C, and it was thermostable at 65 degrees C for 1 h maintaining more than 70% of original activity. Through enzyme kinetic studies, protease better hydrolyzed casein than azocasein. The screening of fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) peptide series derived from Abz-KLXSSKQ-EDDnp revealed that the enzyme exhibited preference for Arg in P(1) (k(cat)/K(m) = 30.1 mM(-1) s(-1)).
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