SUMMARY: The filamentous fungus is cyanide tolerant, due, at least in part, to the induction by cyanide of the enzyme formamide hydrolyase (EC This enzyme, more commonly known as cyanide hydratase, catalyses the hydration of cyanide to formamide. The enzyme was purified from and showed a subunit molecular mass of 43 kDa (as judged by SDS-PAGE), while the native protein appeared to form aggregates of up to 1217 kDa (as judged by gel-filtration and non-denaturing PAGE). mRNA samples from cultures grown with and without cyanide were translated and immunoprecipitated. This demonstrated that, in this species, the gene encoding the enzyme designated is cyanide inducible. Differential screening was used to isolate a cyanide hydratase cDNA clone which was subsequently used to obtain the corresponding genomic clone. A fragment of the cDNA clone encoding all but the first seven amino acids of the protein was expressed in using the expression vector pGEX-2T. Features of cyanide hydratase together with an analysis of the nucleotide sequence encoding this enzyme are presented.


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