Summary: Lactobacillus helveticus ITGL1 is able to hydrolyse many amino-acyl and dipeptidyl--nitroanilides. Analysis of heat inactivation kinetics, metal ion and protease inhibitor effects, and the subcellular location of aminopeptidase activities in both the parental strain and mutants deficient in lysyl--nitroanilide hydrolysis, led to the characterization of two cell-wall-associated aminopeptidases. APII and APIV. APII, which catalysed L-lysine -nitroanilide hydrolysis, was purified about 28-fold to homogeneity from cell-wall extracts of ITGL1 and characterized. The purified enzyme appeared to be monomeric, with a molecular mass of 97 kDa. Aminopeptidase activity was greatest at pH 6.5 and 50 °C. APII was completely inhibited by bestatin, chelating agents such as EDTA or 1,10-phenanthroline and the divalent cations Zn and Cu. The activity of the EDTA-treated enzyme was restored by Co, Ca or Mn. Although APII was able to degrade several dipeptides and tripeptides with hydrophobic N-terminal amino acid (Leu, Ala), it was inactive on peptides containing Pro or Gly, and may thus contribute to the development of cheese flavour by processing bitter peptides.


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