, Volume 86, Issue 1, pp 131-141
Date: 16 Sep 2009

A novel α-amylase from the cyanobacterium Nostoc sp. PCC 7119

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Little information is yet available on the α-amylases of cyanobacteria. Here, the presence of an α-amylase in the cyanobacterium Nostoc sp. PCC 7119 is first demonstrated. A gene (amy1) encoding a cytoplasmic α-amylase (Amy1) protein has been identified, cloned, and overexpressed in Escherichia coli cells. The recombinant protein is a 56.7-kDa monomer, which has been purified to electrophoretic homogeneity by affinity chromatography. The substrate specificity and end product analyses confirm that it is a calcium-dependent α-amylase enzyme, which exhibits its maximum activity at 31°C and at pH between 6.5 and 7.5. The Amy1 protein breaks down mainly starch, is also able to cleave glycogen and dextrin, and exhibits no activity against xylan or pullulan. So the enzyme cannot efficiently attack the maltodextrins with degrees of polymerization below that of maltooctaose. Maltotriose, maltose, and maltotetraose are the major products of the enzymatic reaction with starch as substrate. The enzyme shows a very high turnover number against soluble potato starch (3,420 ± 270 s−1), as compared with other α-amylases reported in the literature. The high catalytic efficiency and relatively low optimum temperature of the Nostoc Amy1 protein make this previously unexplored group of cyanobacterial enzymes of great interest for further physiological studies and industrial applications.