Characterization of a cold-active esterase from Serratia sp. and improvement of thermostability by directed evolution

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Background: In recent years, cold-active esterases have received increased attention due to their attractive properties for some industrial applications such as high catalytic activity at low temperatures. Results: An esterase-encoding gene (estS, 909 bp) from Serratia sp. was identified, cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli DE3 (BL21). The estS encoded a protein (EstS) of 302 amino acids with a predicted molecular weight of 32.5 kDa. It showed the highest activity at 10 °C and pH 8.5. EstS was cold active and retained ~92 % of its original activity at 0 °C. Thermal inactivation analysis showed that the T 1/2 value of EstS was 50 min at 50 °C (residual activity 41.23 %) after 1 h incubation. EstS is also quite stable in high salt conditions and displayed better catalytic activity in the presence of 4 M NaCl. To improve the thermo-stability of EstS, variants of estS gene were created by error-prone PCR. A mutant 1-D5 (A43V, R116W, D147N) that showed higher thermo-stability than its wild type predecessor was selected. 1-D5 showed enhanced T 1/2 of 70 min at 50 °C and retained 63.29 % of activity after incubation at 50 °C for 60 min, which were about 22 % higher than the wild type (WT). CD spectrum showed that the secondary structure of WT and 1-D5 are more or less similar, but an increase in β-sheets was recorded, which enhanced the thermostability of mutant protein. Conclusion: EstS was a novel cold-active and salt-tolerant esterase and half-life of mutant 1-D5 was enhanced by 1.4 times compared with WT. The features of EstS are interesting and can be exploited for commercial applications. The results have also provided useful information about the structure and function of Est protein.




Jiang, H., Zhang, S., Gao, H., & Hu, N. (2016). Characterization of a cold-active esterase from Serratia sp. and improvement of thermostability by directed evolution. BMC Biotechnology, 16(1).

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