, Volume 65, Issue 3, pp 408-415
Date: 24 Apr 2010

Tyrosine 39 of GH13 α-amylase from Thermococcus hydrothermalis contributes to its thermostability

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The presented work is focused on the naturally thermostable α-amylase from the archaebacterium Thermococcus hydrothermalis. From the evolutionary point of view, the archaeal α-amylases are most closely related to plant α-amylases. In a wider sense, especially when the evolutionary trees are based on the less conserved part of their amino acid sequences (e.g. domain C succeeding the catalytic TIM-barrel), also the representatives of bacterial liquefying (Bacillus licheniformis) and saccharifying (Bacillus subtilis) α-amylases as well as the one from Thermotoga maritima should be included into the relatedness with the archaeal and plant α-amylases. Based on the bioinformatics analysis of the α-amylase from T. hydrothermalis, the position of tyrosine 39 (Y16 if the putative 23-residue long signal peptide is considered) was mutated to isoleucine (present in the α-amylase from T. maritima) by the in vitro mutagenesis. The biochemical characterization of the wild-type α-amylase and its Y39I mutant revealed that: (i) the specific activity of both enzymes was approximately equivalent (0.55 ± 0.13 U/mg for the wild-type and 0.52 ± 0.15 U/mg for the Y39I); (ii) the mutant exhibited decreased temperature optimum (from 85°C for the wild-type to 80°C for the Y39I); and (iii) the pH optimum remained the same (pH 5.5 for both enzymes). The remaining activity of the α-amylases was also tested by one-hour incubation at 80°C, 85°C, 90°C and 100°C. Since the wild-type α-amylase lost only 13% of its activity after one-hour incubation at the highest tested temperature (100°C), whereas 27% decrease was seen for the mutant Y39I under the same conditions, it is possible to conclude that the position of tyrosine 39 could contribute to the thermostability of the α-amylase from T. hydrothermalis.