Extracts of dormant microcysts of Polysphondylium pallidum demonstrate pH optima for the hydrolysis of casein at 3.5 and 6.0. During germination the intracellular pH 6.0 caseinolytic specific activity does not change significantly. The pH 6.0 protease is also active on azo-albumin, revealing the same developmental pattern with this substrate. Both acid protease activities are excreted during the germination process. Addition of purified nonspecific protease to cultures speeds up germination, suggesting that the excreted protease may play a role in removal of the microcyst wall. When cycloheximide is added to cultures, complete germination (emergence) is stopped whereas the pH 6.0 protease activity still accumulates to between 50 and 60% of the maximum control activity. Although this suggests that post-translational controls might mediate the accumulation of a portion of the pH 6.0 protease increase, mixing and dilution experiments with cell extracts do not reveal the differential presence of soluble activators or inhibitors of this activity at different developmental stages. The presence of tightly bound enzyme-inhibitor complexes for protease B in dormant microcysts has not been ruled out and is currently under study
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