Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 82, Issue 1, pp 131–140 | Cite as

Heterologous expression of polyhydroxyalkanoate depolymerase from Thermobifida sp. in Pichia pastoris and catalytic analysis by surface plasmon resonance

  • Chitwadee Phithakrotchanakoon
  • Ratama Daduang
  • Arinthip Thamchaipenet
  • Thidarat Wangkam
  • Toemsak Srikhirin
  • Lily Eurwilaichitr
  • Verawat Champreda
Applied Genetics and Molecular Biotechnology


A polyhydroxyalkanote depolymerase gene from Thermobifida sp. isolate BCC23166 was cloned and expressed as a C-terminal His6-tagged fusion in Pichia pastoris. Primary structure analysis revealed that the enzyme PhaZ-Th is a member of a proposed new subgroup of SCL-PHA depolymerase containing a proline–serine repeat linker. PhaZ-Th was expressed as two glycosylated forms with apparent molecular weights of 61 and 70 kDa, respectively. The enzyme showed esterase activity toward p-nitrophenyl alkanotes with V max and K m of 3.63 ± 0.16 μmol min−1 mg−1 and 0.79 ± 0.12 mM, respectively, on p-nitrophenyl butyrate with optimal activity at 50–55°C and pH 7–8. Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) analysis demonstrated that PhaZ-Th catalyzed the degradation of poly-[(R)-3-hydroxybutyrate] (PHB) films, which was accelerated in (R)-3-hydroxyvalerate copolymers with a maximum degradation rate of 882 ng cm−2 h−1 for poly[(R)-3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate] (12 mol% V). Surface deterioration, especially on the amorphous regions of PHB films was observed after exposure to PhaZ-Th by atomic force microscopy. The use of P. pastoris as an alternative recombinant system for bioplastic degrading enzymes in secreted form and a sensitive SPR analytical technique will be of utility for further study of bioplastic degradation.


Thermofida sp. Pichia pastoris Polyhydroxyalkanoate Polyhydroxyalkanoate depolymerase Surface plasmon resonance Atomic force microscopy 



The authors would like to thank Dr.Theeraporn Puntheeranurak, Mahidol University for the AFM analysis and Dr. Philip Shaw for proofreading of the manuscript. R.D. was granted YSTP senior project studentship from NSTDA.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chitwadee Phithakrotchanakoon
    • 1
  • Ratama Daduang
    • 2
  • Arinthip Thamchaipenet
    • 2
  • Thidarat Wangkam
    • 3
  • Toemsak Srikhirin
    • 3
  • Lily Eurwilaichitr
    • 1
  • Verawat Champreda
    • 1
  1. 1.Enzyme Technology Laboratory, Bioresource Technology UnitNational Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC)PathumthaniThailand
  2. 2.Department of Genetics, Faculty of ScienceKasetsart UniversityBangkokThailand
  3. 3.Department of Physics, Center of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Faculty of SciencesMahidol UniversityBangkokThailand

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