Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Characterisation, cloning and production of industrially interesting enzymes: gluconolactone oxidase of Penicillium cyaneo-fulvum and gluconate 5-dehydrogenase of Gluconobacter suboxydans

Tuomas Salusjärvi

Doctoral dissertation, May 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biosciences, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Division of Biochemistry.

The work covered in this thesis is focused on the development of technology for bioconversion of glucose into D-erythorbic acid (D-EA) and 5-ketogluconic acid (5-KGA). The task was to show on proof-of-concept level the functionality of the enzymatic conversion or one-step bioconversion of glucose to these acids. The feasibility of both studies to be further developed for production processes was also evaluated.

The glucose - D-EA bioconversion study was based on the use of a cloned gene encoding a D-EA forming soluble flavoprotein, D-gluconolactone oxidase (GLO). GLO was purified from Penicillium cyaneo-fulvum and partially sequenced. The peptide sequences obtained were used to isolate a cDNA clone encoding the enzyme. The cloned gene (GenBank accession no. AY576053) is homologous to the other known eukaryotic lactone oxidases and also to some putative prokaryotic lactone oxidases. Analysis of the deduced protein sequence of GLO indicated the presence of a typical secretion signal sequence at the N-terminus of the enzyme. No other targeting/anchoring signals were found, suggesting that GLO is the first known lactone oxidase that is secreted rather than targeted to the membranes of the endoplasmic reticulum or mitochondria. Experimental evidence supports this analysis, as near complete secretion of GLO was observed in two different yeast expression systems. Highest expression levels of GLO were obtained using Pichia pastoris as an expression host. Recombinant GLO was characterised and the suitability of purified GLO for the production of D-EA was studied. Immobilised GLO was found to be rapidly inactivated during D-EA production. The feasibility of in vivo glucose - D-EA conversion using a P. pastoris strain co-expressing the genes of GLO and glucose oxidase (GOD, E.C. of A. niger was demonstrated.

The glucose - 5-KGA bioconversion study followed a similar strategy to that used in the D-EA production research. The rationale was based on the use of a cloned gene encoding a membrane-bound pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ)-dependent gluconate 5-dehydrogenase (GA 5-DH). GA 5-DH was purified to homogeneity from the only source of this enzyme known in literature, Gluconobacter suboxydans, and partially sequenced. Using the amino acid sequence information, the GA 5-DH gene was cloned from a genomic library of G. suboxydans. The cloned gene was sequenced (GenBank accession no. AJ577472) and found to be an operon of two adjacent genes encoding two subunits of GA 5-DH. It turned out that GA 5-DH is a rather close homologue of a sorbitol dehydrogenase from another G. suboxydans strain. It was also found that GA 5-DH has significant polyol dehydrogenase activity. The G. suboxydans GA 5-DH gene was poorly expressed in E. coli. Under optimised conditions maximum expression levels of GA 5-DH did not exceed the levels found in wild-type G. suboxydans. Attempts to increase expression levels resulted in repression of growth and extensive cell lysis. However, the expression levels were sufficient to demonstrate the possibility of bioconversion of glucose and gluconate into 5-KGA using recombinant strains of E. coli.

An uncharacterised homologue of GA 5-DH was identified in Xanthomonas campestris using in silico screening. This enzyme encoded by chromosomal locus NP_636946 was found by a sequencing project of X. campestris and named as a hypothetical glucose dehydrogenase. The gene encoding this uncharacterised enzyme was cloned, expressed in E. coli and found to encode a gluconate/polyol dehydrogenase without glucose dehydrogenase activity. Moreover, the X. campestris GA 5-DH gene was expressed in E. coli at nearly 30 times higher levels than the G. suboxydans GA 5-DH gene. Good expressability of the X. campestris GA-5DH gene makes it a valuable tool not only for 5-KGA production in the tartaric acid (TA) bioprocess, but possibly also for other bioprocesses (e.g. oxidation of sorbitol into L-sorbose).

In addition to glucose - 5-KGA bioconversion, a preliminary study of the feasibility of enzymatic conversion of 5-KGA into TA was carried out. Here, the efficacy of the first step of a prospective two-step conversion route including a transketolase and a dehydrogenase was confirmed. It was found that transketolase convert 5-KGA into TA semialdehyde. A candidate for the second step was suggested to be succinic dehydrogenase, but this was not tested.

The analysis of the two subprojects indicated that bioconversion of glucose to TA using X. campestris GA 5-DH should be prioritised first and the process development efforts in future should be focused on development of more efficient GA 5-DH production strains by screening a more suitable production host and by protein engineering.

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Last updated 27.04.2006

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