Fungal proteolytic enzymes: Features of the extracellular proteases of xylotrophic basidiomycetes

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Fungal proteolytic enzymes attract the attention of researches due to such features as high diversity, broad substrate specificity, and stability under extreme conditions. Their functional role is also interesting; it includes a number of processes from the hydrolysis of macromolecular substrates under extremely low nitrogen content to initiation and maintenance of pathogenesis. In the present review, the features of the extracellular proteases of xylotrophic basidiomycetes are discussed. This group is important for the functioning of biological communities and participates in the biological destruction of plant debris; moreover, they are widely used as a source of nutrients and medicines. The review stresses the issues of classification of fungal proteases, their biochemical characteristics and physiological role, as well as the regulation of their activity in the course of fungal growth.

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