Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 99, Issue 20, pp 8465–8474 | Cite as

Identification of sucrose synthase in nonphotosynthetic bacteria and characterization of the recombinant enzymes

  • Margo Diricks
  • Frederik De Bruyn
  • Paul Van Daele
  • Maarten Walmagh
  • Tom Desmet
Biotechnologically relevant enzymes and proteins


Sucrose synthase (SuSy) catalyzes the reversible conversion of sucrose and a nucleoside diphosphate into fructose and nucleotide (NDP)-glucose. To date, only SuSy’s from plants and cyanobacteria, both photosynthetic organisms, have been characterized. Here, four prokaryotic SuSy enzymes from the nonphotosynthetic organisms Nitrosomonas Europaea (SuSyNe), Acidithiobacillus caldus (SuSyAc), Denitrovibrio acetiphilus (SusyDa), and Melioribacter roseus (SuSyMr) were recombinantly expressed in Escherichia coli and thoroughly characterized. The purified enzymes were found to display high-temperature optima (up to 80 °C), high activities (up to 125 U/mg), and high thermostability (up to 15 min at 60 °C). Furthermore, SuSyAc, SuSyNe, and SuSyDa showed a clear preference for ADP as nucleotide, as opposed to plant SuSy’s which prefer UDP. A structural and mutational analysis was performed to elucidate the difference in NDP preference between eukaryotic and prokaryotic SuSy’s. Finally, the physiological relevance of this enzyme specificity is discussed in the context of metabolic pathways and genomic organization.


Sucrose synthase Sucrose metabolism Photosynthesis Nucleotide sugar 



The authors wish to thank the Special Research Fund (BOF) of Ghent University (MRP-project “Ghent Bio-Economy” and PhD-scholarship to MD), as well as the EC (FP7-project “SuSy”, grant agreement no. 613633) for financial support.

Supplementary material

253_2015_6548_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (559 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 558 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margo Diricks
    • 1
  • Frederik De Bruyn
    • 1
  • Paul Van Daele
    • 1
  • Maarten Walmagh
    • 1
  • Tom Desmet
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Industrial Biotechnology and Biocatalysis, Department of Biochemical and Microbial TechnologyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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