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Identification and characterization of a novel nitrilase from Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf-5


Nitrile groups are catabolized to the corresponding acid and ammonia through one-step reaction involving a nitrilase. Here, we report the use of bioinformatic and biochemical tools to identify and characterize the nitrilase (NitPf5) from Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf-5. The nitPf5 gene was identified via sequence analysis of the whole genome of P. fluorescens Pf-5 and subsequently cloned and overexpressed in Escherichia coli. DNA sequence analysis revealed an open-reading frame of 921 bp, capable of encoding a polypeptide of 307 amino acids residues with a calculated isoelectric point of pH 5.4. The enzyme had an optimal pH and temperature of 7.0°C and 45°C, respectively, with a specific activity of 1.7 and 1.9 μmol min−1 mg protein−1 for succinonitrile and fumaronitrile, respectively. The molecular weight of the nitrilase as determined by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and gel filtration chromatography was 33,000 and 138,000 Da, respectively, suggesting that the enzyme is homotetrameric. Among various nitriles, dinitriles were the preferred substrate of NitPf5 with a K m = 17.9 mM and k cat/K m = 0.5 mM−1 s−1 for succinonitrile. Homology modeling and docking studies of dinitrile and mononitrile substrate into the active site of NitPf5 shed light on the substrate specificity of NitPf5. Although nitrilases have been characterized from several other sources, P. fluorescens Pf-5 nitrilase NitPf5 is distinguished from other nitrilases by its high specific activity toward dinitriles, which make P. fluorescens NitPf5 useful for industrial applications, including enzymatic synthesis of various cyanocarboxylic acids.

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This work was supported by the 21C Frontier Microbial Genomics and Applications Center Program, Ministry of Education, Science & Technology, Republic of Korea. This research was supported by a grant from the Korea Research Foundation (KRF-2006-311-D00087).

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Correspondence to Jung-Kul Lee.

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Kim, J., Tiwari, M.K., Moon, H. et al. Identification and characterization of a novel nitrilase from Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf-5. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 83, 273–283 (2009).

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  • Cloning
  • Dinitrile
  • Aliphatic nitrilase
  • Pseudomonas fluorescens
  • Substrate specificity