Extracellular proteolytic activity of Cryptococcus neoformans

Mycopathologia. 1994 Dec;128(3):143-50. doi: 10.1007/BF01138475.


Eight strains of Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans isolated from AIDS patients in the Infectious Disease Institute, University of Turin, Italy, were examined for growth and extracellular proteolytic activity in culture with solid and liquid media. All of the strains grew well on Yeast Carbon Base (YCB) agar medium supplemented with both 0.1% (w/v) bovine serum albumin (BSA) and 0.01% (w/v) polypeptone (Pp), and produced a clear proteolytic zone around their colonies, whereas they exhibited less growth and proteolytic activity on YCB medium supplemented with BSA alone. Strain #8 with a strong proteolytic activity was cultured in three different liquid media. Its growth was limited in YCB medium supplemented with 0.1% BSA, but was moderate in that with 0.01% Pp. Enhanced growth was supported by the addition of both BSA and Pp to the YCB medium. The relative value of the final cellular yields obtained with the above YCB-0.1% BSA, YCB-0.01% Pp and YCB-0.1% BSA-0.01% Pp media was approximately 1:10:20. In the culture with YCB medium containing both BSA and Pp, a rapid decrease in the amount of BSA was demonstrated by a spectrophotometric assay and gel electrophoresis of the culture supernatant after the log-to-stationary phase. The proteolytic activity in the culture supernatant became detectable after the log phase when tested with skim milk agarose plates. These results allowed us to conclude that Cr. neoformans var. neoformans is able to secrete protease and to utilize protein as a source of nitrogen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cryptococcus neoformans / classification
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / growth & development
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / metabolism*
  • Endopeptidases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mycological Typing Techniques
  • Peptones / metabolism
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / metabolism


  • Peptones
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • Endopeptidases