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A cDNA was isolated from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans that encodes an endoprotease which is a member of the Kex2 family of serine endoproteases. Degenerate oligonucleotide primers were designed based on conserved regions within the active sites of known Kex2-like endoproteases, and were used for reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) of poly(A)+RNA isolated from C. elegans. A PCR product was isolated that had homology to the active sites of known furin endoproteases, and was used as a probe to screen a C. elegans cDNA library. A Kex2-like endoprotease (CelfurPC) which encoded a 692-amino-acid preproendoprotease, was identified. The deduced amino acid sequence for the catalytic domain of CelfurPC is homologous to the known Kex2-like endoproteases, with strongest structural homology to the furin/PACE4 family. However, all furins and PACE4 proteins contain a characteristic cysteine-rich domain, and all furins contain a transmembrane domain, neither of which is present in the CelfurPC protein. CelfurPC may thus represent a new class of Kex2-like endoprotease.


This is a copy of an article published in the DNA and Cell Biology © 1997 copyright Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. DNA and Cell Biology is available online at: