A collagenolytic serine protease with trypsin-like specificity from the fiddler crab Uca pugilator.
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A second collagenolytic serine protease has been isolated from the hepatopancreas of the fiddler crab, Uca pugilator. This enzyme cleaves the native triple helix of collagen under physiological conditions of pH, temperature, and ionic strength. In addition to its collagenolytic activity, the enzyme exhibits endopeptidase activity toward other polypeptides and small molecular weight synthetic substrates. The polypeptide bond specificity of this enzyme is similar to that of bovine trypsin as is its interaction with specific protease inhibitors. The amino-terminal sequence of this enzyme displays significant homology with other serine proteases, most notably with that of crayfish trypsin, and demonstrates that this enzyme is a member of the trypsin family of serine endopeptidases. The relatively unique action of this protease with regard to both collagenous and noncollagenous substrates has important implications concerning the specificity and mechanism of collagen degradation.