Streptococcus milleri NMSCC 061 was screened for antimicrobial substances and shown to produce a bacteriolytic cell wall hydrolase, termed millericin B. The enzyme was purified to homogeneity by a four-step purification procedure that consisted of ammonium sulfate precipitation followed by gel filtration, ultrafiltration, and ion-exchange chromatography. The yield following ion-exchange chromatography was 6.4%, with a greater-than-2,000-fold increase in specific activity. The molecular weight of the enzyme was 28,924 as determined by electrospray mass spectrometry. The amino acid sequences of both the N terminus of the enzyme (NH2 SENDFSLAMVSN) and an internal fragment which was generated by cyanogen bromide cleavage (NH2 SIQTNAPWGL) were determined by automated Edman degradation. Millericin B displayed a broad spectrum of activity against gram-positive bacteria but was not active against Bacillus subtilis W23 or Escherichia coli ATCC 486 or against the producer strain itself. N-Dinitrophenyl derivatization and hydrazine hydrolysis of free amino and free carboxyl groups liberated from peptidoglycan digested with millericin B followed by thin-layer chromatography showed millericin B to be an endopeptidase with multiple activities. It cleaves the stem peptide at the N terminus of glutamic acid as well as the N terminus of the last residue in the interpeptide cross-link of susceptible strains
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