Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 91, Issue 3, pp 635–644 | Cite as

Isolation and characterization of two serine proteases from metagenomic libraries of the Gobi and Death Valley deserts

  • Julie Neveu
  • Christophe Regeard
  • Michael S. DuBow
Biotechnologically Relevant Enzymes and Proteins


The screening of environmental DNA metagenome libraries for functional activities can provide an important source of new molecules and enzymes. In this study, we identified 17 potential protease-producing clones from two metagenomic libraries derived from samples of surface sand from the Gobi and Death Valley deserts. Two of the proteases, DV1 and M30, were purified and biochemically examined. These two proteases displayed a molecular mass of 41.5 kDa and 45.7 kDa, respectively, on SDS polyacrylamide gels. Alignments with known protease sequences showed less than 55% amino acid sequence identity. These two serine proteases appear to belong to the subtilisin (S8A) family and displayed several unique biochemical properties. Protease DV1 had an optimum pH of 8 and an optimal activity at 55°C, while protease M30 had an optimum pH >11 and optimal activity at 40°C. The properties of these enzymes make them potentially useful for biotechnological applications and again demonstrate that metagenomic approaches can be useful, especially when coupled with the study of novel environments such as deserts.


Functional metagenomics Protease Gobi desert Death Valley desert 



The authors would like to thank Barry Holland and Adrienne Kish for interesting comments and discussions, as well as Monique Auberdiac for technical help with the experiments. This work was supported by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France, and by the AQUAPHAGE program of the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), France.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie Neveu
    • 1
  • Christophe Regeard
    • 1
  • Michael S. DuBow
    • 1
  1. 1.Univ Paris-SudInstitut de Génétique et Microbiologie, CNRS UMR 8621OrsayFrance

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