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Homology modeling and heterologous expression of highly alkaline subtilisin-like serine protease from Bacillus halodurans C-125.

  • Tekin, Aşkın1
  • Uzuner, Ugur2
  • Sezen, Kazım3
  • 1 Department of Medical Services and Techniques, Şebinkarahisar Social Sciences Vocational School, 28400, Şebinkarahisar, Giresun, Turkey. , (Turkey)
  • 2 Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Faculty of Science, Karadeniz Technical University, 61080, Trabzon, Turkey. [email protected] , (Turkey)
  • 3 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Karadeniz Technical University, 61080, Trabzon, Turkey. , (Turkey)
Published Article
Biotechnology Letters
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1007/s10529-020-03025-6
PMID: 33047274


Here we report heterologous expression, enzymatic characterization and structure homology modeling of a subtilisin-like alkaline serine protease (ASP) from Bacillus halodurans C-125. Encoding gene was successfully obtained by PCR and cloned into pMA0911 shuttle vector under the control of strong HpaII promoter and expressed extracellularly. ASP enzyme was successfully expressed in B. subtilis WB800 cell line lacking eight extracellular proteases and produced extracellularly in the culture medium. Km, Vmax and specific activity parameters of the recombinantly produced ASP were identified as 0.2899 mg/ml, 76.12 U/ml and 9500 U/mg, respectively. The purified enzyme revealed remarkable proteolytic activity at highly alkaline conditions with a pH optimum 12.0 and notable thermostability with temperature optimum at 60 °C. Furthermore, substrate-free enzyme revealed remarkable pH stability at pH 12.0 and maintained 93% of its initial activity when incubated at 37 °C for 24 h and 60% of its initial activity upon incubation at 60 °C for 1 h. Theoretically calculated molecular mass of ASP protein was confirmed through SDS-PAGE and western blot analysis (Mw: 28.3 kDa). The secondary and tertiary structures of ASP protein were also identified through homology modeling and further examined in detail. ASP harbors a typical S8/S53 peptidase domain comprising 17 β-sheets and 9 α-helixes within its secondary structure. The structure dynamics analysis of modeled 3D structure further revealed that transient inactivating propeptide chain is the most dynamic region of ASP enzyme with 8.52 Å2 β-Factor value. Additional residue-dependent fluctuation plot analysis also confirmed the elevated structure dynamics patterning of ASP N-terminus which could be the potential prerequisite for the autonomous propeptide removal of alkaline serine peptidases. Yet the functional domain of ASP becomes quite stable after autonomous exclusion of its propeptide. Although the sequence homology between ASP and commercial detergent additive B. lentus protease (PDB ID:1GCI) was moderate (65.4% sequence similarity), their overlaid 3D structures revealed much higher similarity (98.14%) within 0.80 Å RMSD. In conclusions, with remarkable pH stability, notable thermostability and particularly high specific activity at extreme alkaline conditions, the unveiled ASP protein stands out as a novel protease candidate for various industrial sectors such as textile, detergent, leather, feed, waste, pharmaceutical and others.

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