, Volume 86, Issue 6, pp 1867-1875
Date: 27 Jan 2010

Purification and characterization of a halotolerant serine proteinase from thermotolerant Bacillus licheniformis RKK-04 isolated from Thai fish sauce

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A gram-positive thermotolerant bacterium, designated strain RKK-04, was isolated from a fermented Thai fish sauce broth as it demonstrated high proteolytic activity. A phylogenetic analysis based on comparisons of 16S rRNA gene sequences showed that strain RKK-04 is Bacillus licheniformis. The proteolytic enzyme, which was purified 80-fold with 18% yield, has a molecular mass of 31 kDa and an isoelectric point higher than 9.3. The optimum pH and temperature of the enzyme activity were found to be 10.0 and 50°C, respectively. The addition of diisopropyl fluorophosphate and phenylmethanesulfonyl fluoride completely inhibited enzymatic activity. These results showed that the enzyme is a subtilisin-like alkaline serine proteinase. On the other hand, the enzyme exhibited unique cleavage sites in oxidized insulin B-chain that differed from those of other subtilisin-like proteases. High enzymatic activity was also retained under high salt conditions (30% NaCl). The myosin heavy chain of fish protein was completely digested by reaction with this enzyme. Thus the halotolerant proteinase from B. licheniformis RKK-04 is a key enzyme for fish sauce fermentation.