Summary: Antiserum was raised against a 31 kDa spore-cortex-lytic enzyme, which is released during germination of S40 spores. Western blotting of dormant spore and vegetative cell fractions separated by SDS-PAGE indicated that the 31 kDa enzyme is spore-specific and that the enzyme in the dormant spore exists as a 36 kDa protein which has no cortex-lytic activity. A gene encoding the 31 kDa enzyme, , was cloned into using a synthetic oligonucleotide as a hybridization probe and the nucleotide sequence of the entire gene was determined. The N-terminal amino acid sequence of the 36 kDa protein was found in this reading frame, confirming that the 36 kDa protein is a pro-form of the 31 kDa enzyme. The deduced amino acid sequence indicated that the 31 kDa enzyme is produced as a precursor, comprising three portions; an (114 amino acid residues), a pro-sequence (35 amino acid residues) and a mature enzyme (289 amino acid residues). It is suggested that the 36 kDa pro-enzyme is non-covalently attached to the exterior of the cortex layer, and that the pro-form is processed to release the active enzyme during germination.


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