Arginine decarboxylase which makes its appearance in Lathyrus sativus seedlings after 24 h of seed germination reaches its highest level around 5-7 days, the cotyledons containing about 60% of the total activity in the seedlings at day 5. The cytosol enzyme was purified 977-fold from whole seedlings by steps involving manganese chloride treatment, ammonium sulphate and acetone fractionations, positive adsorption on alumina C-gamma gel, DEAE-Sephadex chromatography followed by preparative disc gel electrophoresis. The enzyme was shown to be homogeneous by electrophoretic and immunological criteria, had a molecular weight of 220,000 and appears to be a hexamer with identical subunits. The optimal pH and temperature for the enzyme activity were 8.5 and 45 degrees C respectively. The enzyme follows typical Michaelis-Menten kinetics with a Km value of 1.73 mM for arginine. Though Mn2+ at lower concentrations stimulated the enzyme activity, there was no dependence of the enzyme on any metal for the activity. The arginine decarboxylase of L. sativus is a sulfhydryl enzyme. The data on co-factor requirement, inhibition by carbonyl reagents, reducing agents and pyridoxal phosphate inhibitors, and a partial reversal by pyridoxal phosphate of inhibition by pyridoxal-HCl suggests that pyridoxal 5'-phosphate is involved as a co-factor for the enzyme. The enzyme activity was inhibited competitively by various amines including the product agmatine. Highest inhibition was obtained with spermine and arcain. The substrate analogue, L-canavanine, homologue L-homoarginine and other basic amino acids like L-lysine and L-ornithine inhibited the enzyme activity competitively, homoarginine being the most effective in this respect.
A strain of Bacillus sp (Bacillus R-4) produces a protease and a carbohydrolase both of which have the ability to lyse Rhizopus cell walls. Of the enzymes, the carbohydrolase has been purified to an ultracentrifugally and electrophoretically homogeneous state, and identified as a chitosanase. The enzyme was active on glycol chitosan as well as chitosan. Molecular weight of the purified enzyme was estimated as 31 000 and isoelectric point as pH 8.30. The enzyme was most active at pH 5.6 and at 40 degrees C with either Rhizopus cell wall or glycol chitosan as substrate, and was stable over a range of pH 4.5 to 7.5 at 40 degrees C for 3 h. The activity was lost by sulfhydryl reagents and restored by either reduced glutathione of L-cysteine. An abrupt decrease in viscosity of the reaction mixture suggested an endowise cleavage of chitosan by this enzyme.