A Novel Alkaliphilic Bacillus Esterase Belongs to the 13th Bacterial Lipolytic Enzyme Family

Lang Rao, Yanfen Xue, Yingying Zheng, Jian R. Lu, Yanhe Ma

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: Microbial derived lipolytic hydrolysts are an important class of biocatalysts because of their huge abundance and ability to display bioactivities under extreme conditions. In spite of recent advances, our understanding of these enzymes remains rudimentary. The aim of our research is to advance our understanding by seeking for more unusual lipid hydrolysts and revealing their molecular structure and bioactivities. Methodology/Principal Findings: Bacillus. pseudofirmus OF4 is an extreme alkaliphile with tolerance of pH up to 11. In this work we successfully undertook a heterologous expression of a gene estof4 from the alkaliphilic B. pseudofirmus sp OF4. The recombinant protein called EstOF4 was purified into a homologous product by Ni-NTA affinity and gel filtration. The purified EstOF4 was active as dimer with the molecular weight of 64 KDa. It hydrolyzed a wide range of substrates including p-nitrophenyl esters (C2-C12) and triglycerides (C2-C6). Its optimal performance occurred at pH 8.5 and 50°C towards p-nitrophenyl caproate and triacetin. Sequence alignment revealed that EstOF4 shared 71% identity to esterase Est30 from Geobacillus stearothermophilus with a typical lipase pentapeptide motif G91LS93LG95. A structural model developed from homology modeling revealed that EstOF4 possessed a typical esterase 6α/7β hydrolase fold and a cap domain. Site-directed mutagenesis and inhibition studies confirmed the putative catalytic triad Ser93, Asp190 and His220. Conclusion: EstOF4 is a new bacterial esterase with a preference to short chain ester substrates. With a high sequence identity towards esterase Est30 and several others, EstOF4 was classified into the same bacterial lipolytic family, Family XIII. All the members in this family originate from the same bacterial genus, bacillus and display optimal activities from neutral pH to alkaline conditions with short and middle chain length substrates. However, with roughly 70% sequence identity, these enzymes showed hugely different thermal stabilities, indicating their diverse thermal adaptations via just changing a few amino acid residues. © 2013 Lu et al.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere60645
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2013


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