Listeria bacteriophage peptidoglycan hydrolases feature high thermoresistance and reveal increased activity after divalent metal cation substitution
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The ability of the bacteriophage-encoded peptidoglycan hydrolases (endolysins) to destroy Gram-positive bacteria from without makes these enzymes promising antimicrobials. Recombinant endolysins from Listeria monocytogenes phages have been shown to rapidly lyse and kill the pathogen in all environments. To determine optimum conditions regarding application of recombinant Listeria phage endolysins in food or production equipments, properties of different Listeria endolysins were studied. Optimum NaCl concentration for the amidase HPL511 was 200 nM and 300 mM for the peptidases HPL118, HPL500, and HPLP35. Unlike most other peptidoglycan hydrolases, all four enzymes exhibited highest activity at elevated pH values at around pH 8–9. Lytic activity was abolished by EDTA and could be restored by supplementation with various divalent metal cations, indicating their role in catalytic function. While substitution of the native Zn2+ by Ca2+ or Mn2+ was most effective in case of HPL118, HPL500, and HPLP35, supplementation with Co2+ and Mn2+ resulted in an approximately 5-fold increase in HPL511 activity. Interestingly, the glutamate peptidases feature a conserved SxHxxGxAxD zinc-binding motif, which is not present in the amidases, although they also require centrally located divalent metals for activity. The endolysins HPL118, HPL511, and HPLP35 revealed a surprisingly high thermostability, with up to 35% activity remaining after 30 min incubation at 90°C. The available data suggest that denaturation at elevated temperatures is reversible and may be followed by rapid refolding into a functional state.