Intracellular catabolism of proteins labeled at the end of the exponential growth proceeded in two phases during sporulation. The first phase was induced by starvation and took place also in cells whose sporulation was inhibited by netropsin. The second phase of degradation, which was triggered at the onset of the irreversible sporulation phase, was inhibited by netropsin. Intracellular proteolytic activity determined in disintegrated cells, i.e., primarily the activity of the cytoplasmic Ca2+-dependent serine proteinase(s) at the first place, was increasing throughout the sporulation process and reached its maximum during the irreversible sporulation phase. Its increase was suppressed by netropsin. Fractionation of the cell sap by HPLC revealed a similar distribution of proteolytic activities in the extract from control and netropsin-inhibited cells. The antibiotic thus probably affected the activation, not the formation of the cytoplasmic serine proteinase(s). Netropsin also inhibited an increase of proteolytic activity in the membrane fraction, probably owing to the presence of two different proteolytic enzymes.
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