The midgut chymotrypsins of shrimps (Penaeus monodon, Penaeus japonicus and Penaeus penicillatus)

Inn Ho Tsai, Pei Jung Lu, Jan Lung Chuang

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46 Citations (Scopus)


The midgut chymotrypsins (EC of three species of shrimps, Penaeus monodon, Penaeus japonicus and Penaeus penicillatus were purified and studied in detail to clarify previous ambiguity in their identification. In each of the species there are two major forms of chymotrypsin, both single-chained with three disulfide bonds. One has a pI of 3.2 and Mr 27 000 or 28 000, while the other has a pI of 3.0 and Mr 25 000 or 26 000. The N-terminal amino acid sequences of the P. monodon enzymes are homologous to those of the crab (Uca pugilator) collagenase and to the other chymotrypsins. However, the active sites of the shrimp chymotrypsins are different from that of the well studied bovine α-chymotrypsin in some respects: (1) in spite of showing the typical specificity of chymotrypsin, the shrimp enzymes are more stringently selective for substrates with extended polypeptide chain; (2) some titration agents of α-chymotrypsin, including t-cinnamoylimidazole, 4-nitrophenyl guanidinobenzoate and its fluorescent derivative, do not react with the shrimp enzymes, neither do some of the α-chymotrypsin inhibitors: Tosyl-PheCH2Cl, methyl-4-nitrobenzenesulfonate and benzeneboronic acid; (3) the shrimp chymotrypsins are more reactive than the bovine enzyme toward native protein substrates including collagen; (4) the kinetic-salt-effects of the shrimp enzyme toward N-succinyl- and acetyl-Ala-Ala-Pro-Phe-4-nitroanilide mainly reflect electrostatic rather than hydrophobic interactions between the substrates and the enzyme. The shrimp enzymes are acid-labile but resistent to autolysis. Our results suggest that most Crustacea decapods contain chymotrypsins as one of the major digestive endopeptidases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-67
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)/Protein Structure and Molecular
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1991 Oct 11

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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