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Identification and structural analysis of a thermophilic β-1,3-glucanase from compost...

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Bioresources and Bioprocessing
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β-1,3-glucanase can specifically hydrolyze glucans to oligosaccharides and has potential applications in biotechnology. We used the metatranscriptomic technology to discover a thermophilic β-1,3-glucanase from compost. The phylogenetic study shows that it belongs to the family 16 glycoside hydrolase (GH16) and is most homologous with an enzyme from Streptomyces sioyaensis, an actinobacterium. It has the activity of 146.9 U/mg in the optimal reaction condition (75 °C and pH 5.5). Its catalytic domain was crystallized and diffracted to 1.14 Å resolution. The crystal structure shows a sandwich-like β-jelly-roll fold with two disulfide bonds. After analyzing the occurring frequencies of these cysteine residues, we designed two mutants (C160G and C180I) to study the role of these disulfide bonds. Both mutants have decreased their optimal temperature from 75 to 70 °C, which indicate that the disulfide bonds are important to maintain thermostability. Interestingly, the activity of C160G has increased ~ 17% to reach 171.4 U/mg. We speculate that the increased activity of C160G mutant is due to increased dynamics near the active site. Our studies give a good example of balancing the rigidity and flexibility for enzyme activity, which is helpful for protein engineering.