Bacteria belonging to the genus Clostridium, both glycolytic and proteolytic, and both pathogenic and non-pathogenic, produce a battery of hydrolytic enzymes to obtain nutrients from various biopolymers. The clostridial hydrolytic enzymes are diverse, and are used or are potentially useful for fundamental and applied research purposes. Among them, enzymes degrading the major components in the extracellular matrix or on the cell surface in vertebrates are herein reviewed with special emphasis on recent knowledge gained through molecular biology of clostridial collagenases, sialidases and hyaluronidases. This paper also reviews some literature on the biotechnological approach to the designing of new molecular tools and drug delivery systems involving clostridial hydrolytic enzymes.
- Extracellular matrix
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