Nitrilase is an important member of the nitrilase superfamiliy. It has attracted substantial interest from academia and industry for its function of converting nitriles directly into the corresponding carboxylic acids in recent years. Thus nitrilase has played a crucial role in production of commercial carboxylic acids in chemical industry and detoxification of nitrile-contaminated wastes. However, conventional studies mainly focused on the bacterial nitrilase and the potential of fungal nitrilase has been far from being fully explored. Research on fungal nitrilase gene expression will advance our understanding for its biological function of fungal nitrilase in nitrile hydrolysis.
A fungal nitrilase gene from Gibberella intermedia was cloned through reverse transcription-PCR. The open reading frame consisted of 963 bp and potentially encoded a protein of 320 amino acid residues with a theoretical molecular mass of 35.94 kDa. Furthermore, the catalytic triad (Glu-45, Lys-127, and Cys-162) was proposed and confirmed by site-directed mutagenesis. The encoding gene was expressed in Escherichia coli Rosetta-gami (DE3) and the recombinant protein with His6-tag was purified to electrophoretic homogeneity. The purified enzyme exhibited optimal activity at 45°C and pH 7.8. This nitrilase was specific towards aliphatic and aromatic nitriles. The kinetic parameters Vmax and Km for 3-cyanopyridine were determined to be 0.81 µmol/min·mg and 12.11 mM through Hanes-Woolf plot, respectively. 3-Cyanopyridine (100 mM) could be thoroughly hydrolyzed into nicotinic acid within 10 min using the recombinant strain with the release of about 3% nicotinamide and no substrate was detected.
In the present study, a fungal nitrilase was cloned from the cDNA sequence of G. intermedia and successfully expressed in E. coli Rosetta-gami (DE3). The recombinant strain displayed good 3-cyanopyridine degradation efficiency and wide substrate spectrum. This fungal nitrilase might be a potential candidate for industrial applications in carboxylic acids production.
Nitrilases attract increasing attention due to their utility in the mild hydrolysis of nitriles. According to activity and gene screening, filamentous fungi are a rich source of nitrilases distinct in evolution from their widely examined bacterial counterparts. However, fungal nitrilases have been less explored than the bacterial ones. Nitrilases are typically heterogeneous in their quaternary structures, forming short spirals and extended filaments, these features making their structural studies difficult.
A nitrilase gene was amplified by PCR from the cDNA library of Aspergillus niger K10. The PCR product was ligated into expression vectors pET-30(+) and pRSET B to construct plasmids pOK101 and pOK102, respectively. The recombinant nitrilase (Nit-ANigRec) expressed in Escherichia coli BL21-Gold(DE3)(pOK101/pTf16) was purified with an about 2-fold increase in specific activity and 35% yield. The apparent subunit size was 42.7 kDa, which is approx. 4 kDa higher than that of the enzyme isolated from the native organism (Nit-ANigWT), indicating post-translational cleavage in the enzyme's native environment. Mass spectrometry analysis showed that a C-terminal peptide (Val327 - Asn356) was present in Nit-ANigRec but missing in Nit-ANigWT and Asp298-Val313 peptide was shortened to Asp298-Arg310 in Nit-ANigWT. The latter enzyme was thus truncated by 46 amino acids. Enzymes Nit-ANigRec and Nit-ANigWT differed in substrate specificity, acid/amide ratio, reaction optima and stability. Refolded recombinant enzyme stored for one month at 4°C was fractionated by gel filtration, and fractions were examined by electron microscopy. The late fractions were further analyzed by analytical centrifugation and dynamic light scattering, and shown to consist of a rather homogeneous protein species composed of 12-16 subunits. This hypothesis was consistent with electron microscopy and our modelling of the multimeric nitrilase, which supports an arrangement of dimers into helical segments as a plausible structural solution.
The nitrilase from Aspergillus niger K10 is highly homologous (≥86%) with proteins deduced from gene sequencing in Aspergillus and Penicillium genera. As the first of these proteins, it was shown to exhibit nitrilase activity towards organic nitriles. The comparison of the Nit-ANigRec and Nit-ANigWT suggested that the catalytic properties of nitrilases may be changed due to missing posttranslational cleavage of the former enzyme. Nit-ANigRec exhibits a lower tendency to form filaments and, moreover, the sample homogeneity can be further improved by in vitro protein refolding. The homogeneous protein species consisting of short spirals is expected to be more suitable for structural studies.
In this study, several nitrilase genes from phylogenetically distinct organisms were expressed and purified in E. coli in order to study their ability to mediate the biotransformation of nitriles. We identified three nitrilases: Acidovorax facilis nitrilase (AcN); Alcaligenes fecalis nitrilase (AkN); and Rhodococcus rhodochrous nitrilase (RkN), which catalyzed iminodiacetonitrile (IDAN) to iminodiacetic acid (IDA). AcN demonstrated 8.8-fold higher activity for IDAN degradation as compared to AkN and RkN. Based on homology modeling and previously described ‘hot spot’ mutations, several AcN mutants were screened for improved activity. One mutant M3 (F168V/L201N/S192F) was identified, which demonstrates a 41% enhancement in the conversion as well as a 2.4-fold higher catalytic efficiency towards IDAN as compared to wild-type AcN.
Nitrilase from Rhodococcus rhodochrous ATCC 33278 hydrolyses both aliphatic and aromatic nitriles. Replacing Tyr-142 in the wild-type enzyme with the aromatic amino acid phenylalanine did not alter specificity for either substrate. However, the mutants containing non-polar aliphatic amino acids (alanine, valine and leucine) at position 142 were specific only for aromatic substrates such as benzonitrile, m-tolunitrile and 2-cyanopyridine, and not for aliphatic substrates. These results suggest that the hydrolysis of substrates probably involves the conjugated π-electron system of the aromatic ring of substrate or Tyr-142 as an electron acceptor. Moreover, the mutants containing charged amino acids such as aspartate, glutamate, arginine and asparagine at position 142 displayed no activity towards any nitrile, possibly owing to the disruption of hydrophobic interactions with substrates. Thus aromaticity of substrate or amino acid at position 142 in R. rhodochrous nitrilase is required for enzyme activity.
aliphatic nitrile; aromatic nitrile; nitrilase; Rhodococcus rhodochrous; substrate specificity; LB, Luria–Bertani
Nitrilases have found wide use in the pharmaceutical industry for the production of fine chemicals, and it is important to have a method by which to screen libraries of isolated or engineered nitrilase variants (including bacteria and fungi). The conventional methods, such as high-performance liquid chromatography, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, capillary electrophoresis, or gas chromatography, are tedious and time-consuming. Therefore, a direct and sensitive readout of the nitrilase's activity has to be considered. In this paper, we report a novel time-resolved luminescent probe: o-hydroxybenzonitrile derivatives could be applied to detect the activity of the nitrilases. By the action of nitrilases, o-hydroxybenzonitrile derivatives can be transformed to the corresponding salicylic acid derivatives, which, upon binding Tb3+, serve as a photon antenna and sensitize Tb3+ luminescence. Because of the time-resolved property of the luminescence, the background from the other proteins (especially in the fermentation system) in the assay could be reduced and, therefore, the sensitivity was increased. Moreover, because the detection was performed on a 96- or 384-well plate, the activity of the nitrilases from microorganisms could be determined quickly. Based on this strategy, the best fermentation conditions for nitrilase-producing strains were obtained.
Over the past decades, nitrilases have drawn considerable attention because of their application in nitrile degradation as prominent biocatalysts. Nitrilases are derived from bacteria, filamentous fungi, yeasts, and plants. In-depth investigations on their natural sources function mechanisms, enzyme structure, screening pathways, and biocatalytic properties have been conducted. Moreover, the immobilization, purification, gene cloning and modifications of nitrilase have been dwelt upon. Some nitrilases are used commercially as biofactories for carboxylic acids production, waste treatment, and surface modification. This critical review summarizes the current status of nitrilase research, and discusses a number of challenges and significant attempts in its further development. Nitrilase is a significant and promising biocatalyst for catalytic applications.
Biocatalysis; Bioremediation; Carboxylic acid; Gene expression; Immobilization; Nitrilase; Nitrile; Purification; Strain screening; Surface modification
The `black yeast' Exophiala oligosperma R1 can utilise various
organic nitriles under acidic conditions as nitrogen sources. The induction of
a phenylacetonitrile converting activity was optimised by growing the strain
in the presence of different nitriles and /or complex or inorganic nitrogen
sources. The highest nitrile hydrolysing activity was observed with cells
grown with 2-cyanopyridine and NaNO3. The cells metabolised the
inducer and grew with 2-cyanopyridine as sole source of nitrogen. Cell
extracts converted various (substituted) benzonitriles and
phenylacetonitriles. They usually converted the isomers carrying a substituent
in the meta-position with higher relative activities than the
corresponding para- or ortho-substituted isomers. Aliphatic
substrates such as acrylonitrile and 2-hydroxy-3-butenenitrile were also
hydrolysed. The highest specific activity was detected with 4-cyanopyridine.
Most nitriles were almost exclusively converted to the corresponding acids and
no or only low amounts of the corresponding amides were formed. The cells
hydrolysed amides only with extremely low activities. It was therefore
concluded that the cells harboured a nitrilase activity. The specific
activities of whole cells and cell extracts were compared for different
nitriles and evidence obtained for limitation in the substrate-uptake by whole
cells. The conversion of 2-hydroxy-3-butenenitrile to 2-hydroxy-3-butenoic
acid at pH 4 demonstrated the unique ability of cells of E.
oligosperma R1 to hydrolyse aliphatic α-hydroxynitriles under
acidic conditions. The organism could grow with phenylacetonitrile as sole
source of carbon, energy and nitrogen. The degradation of phenylacetonitrile
presumably proceeds via phenylacetic acid, 2-hydroxyphenylacetic acid,
2,5-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (homogentisate), maleylacetoacetate and
Acidotolerance; biotransformation; black yeasts; Exophiala; homogentisate pathway; induction; nitrilase
Nitrilases are a large and diverse family of non-peptidic C-N hydrolases. The mammalian genome encodes eight nitrilase enzymes, several of which remain poorly characterized. Prominent among these are nitrilase-1 (Nit1) and nitrilase-2 (Nit2), which, despite having been shown to exert effects on cell growth and possibly serving as tumor suppressor genes, are without known substrates or selective inhibitors. In previous studies, we identified several nitrilases, including Nit1 and Nit2, as targets for dipeptide-chloroacetamide activity-based proteomics probes. Here, we have used these probes, in combination with high-resolution crystallography and molecular modeling, to systematically map the active site of Nit2 and identify residues involved in molecular recognition. We report the 1.4 Å crystal structure of mouse Nit2, and use this structure to identify residues that discriminate probe-labeling between the Nit1 and Nit2 enzymes. Interestingly, some of these residues are conserved across all vertebrate Nit2 enzymes and, conversely, not found in any vertebrate Nit1 enzymes, suggesting that they are key discriminators of molecular recognition between these otherwise highly homologous enzymes. Our findings thus point to a limited set of active site residues that establish distinct patterns of molecular recognition among nitrilases and provide chemical probes to selectively perturb the function of these enzymes in biological systems.
Nitrilases are important in the biosphere as participants in synthesis and degradation pathways for naturally occurring, as well as xenobiotically derived, nitriles. Because of their inherent enantioselectivity, nitrilases are also attractive as mild, selective catalysts for setting chiral centers in fine chemical synthesis. Unfortunately, <20 nitrilases have been reported in the scientific and patent literature, and because of stability or specificity shortcomings, their utility has been largely unrealized. In this study, 137 unique nitrilases, discovered from screening of >600 biotope-specific environmental DNA (eDNA) libraries, were characterized. Using culture-independent means, phylogenetically diverse genomes were captured from entire biotopes, and their genes were expressed heterologously in a common cloning host. Nitrilase genes were targeted in a selection-based expression assay of clonal populations numbering 106 to 1010 members per eDNA library. A phylogenetic analysis of the novel sequences discovered revealed the presence of at least five major sequence clades within the nitrilase subfamily. Using three nitrile substrates targeted for their potential in chiral pharmaceutical synthesis, the enzymes were characterized for substrate specificity and stereospecificity. A number of important correlations were found between sequence clades and the selective properties of these nitrilases. These enzymes, discovered using a high-throughput, culture-independent method, provide a catalytic toolbox for enantiospecific synthesis of a variety of carboxylic acid derivatives, as well as an intriguing library for evolutionary and structural analyses.
Nesterenkonia strain AN1 was isolated from a screening program for nitrile- and amide-hydrolyzing microorganisms in Antarctic desert soil samples. Strain AN1 showed significant 16S rRNA sequence identity to known members of the genus. Like known Nesterenkonia species, strain AN1 was obligately alkaliphilic (optimum environmental pH, 9 to 10) and halotolerant (optimum environmental Na+ content, 0 to 15% [wt/vol]) but was also shown to be an obligate psychrophile with optimum growth at approximately 21°C. The partially sequenced genome of AN1 revealed an open reading frame (ORF) encoding a putative protein member of the nitrilase superfamily, referred to as NitN (264 amino acids). The protein crystallized readily as a dimer and the atomic structure of all but 10 amino acids of the protein was determined, confirming that the enzyme had an active site and a fold characteristic of the nitrilase superfamily. The protein was screened for activity against a variety of nitrile, carbamoyl, and amide substrates and was found to have only amidase activity. It had highest affinity for propionamide but demonstrated a low catalytic rate. NitN had maximal activity at 30°C and between pH 6.5 and 7.5, conditions which are outside the optimum growth range for the organism.
A novel nitrilase that preferentially catalyzes the hydrolysis of aliphatic nitriles to the corresponding carboxylic acids and ammonia was found in the cells of a facultative crotononitrile-utilizing actinomycete isolated from soil. The strain was taxonomically studied and identified as Rhodococcus rhodochrous. The nitrilase was purified, with 9.08% overall recovery, through five steps from a cell extract of the stain. After the last step, the purified enzyme appeared to be homogeneous, as judged by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, analytical centrifugation, and double immunodiffusion in agarose. The relative molecular weight values for the native enzyme, estimated from the ultracentrifugal equilibrium and by high-performance liquid chromatography, were approximately 604,000 +/- 30,000 and 650,000, respectively, and the enzyme consisted of 15 to 16 subunits identical in molecular weight (41,000). The enzyme acted on aliphatic olefinic nitriles such as crotononitrile and acrylonitrile as the most suitable substrates. The apparent Km values for crotononitrile and acrylonitrile were 18.9 and 1.14 mM, respectively. The nitrilase also catalyzed the direct hydrolysis of saturated aliphatic nitriles, such as valeronitrile, 4-chlorobutyronitrile, and glutaronitrile, to the corresponding acids without the formation of amide intermediates. Hence, the R. rhodochrous K22 nitrilase is a new type distinct from all other nitrilases that act on aromatic and related nitriles.
The nitrilase which occurs abundantly in cells of Rhodococcus rhodochrous J1 catalyzes the direct hydrolysis of 3-cyanopyridine to nicotinic acid without forming nicotinamide. By using resting cells, the reaction conditions for nicotinic acid production were optimized. Under the optimum conditions, 100% of the added 3-cyanopyridine could be converted to nicotinic acid, the highest yield achieved being 172 mg of nicotinic acid per 1.0 ml of reaction mixture containing 2.89 mg (dry weight) of cells in 26 h.
Crude extracts of Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Ra, an isonicotinic acid hydrazide (isoniazid) (INH)-susceptible strain which has peroxidase activity, catalyzed the production of catechol from phenol in the presence of INH and H2O2 as shown by the development of the 444-nm absorption peak of oxidized catechol product. Extracts of the INH-resistant strain of M. tuberculosis H37Ra, which has no peroxidase, did not catalyze the reaction. The rate of development of the 444-nm peak increased proportionately with increased superoxide dismutase concentrations. The hydroxyl radical (. OH) scavengers dimethylsulfoxide and mannitol inhibited the reaction. Isonicotinamide, isonicotinic acid, and nicotinic acid could not replace INH.
The nitrilase from Pseudomonas fluorescens EBC191 converted (R,S)-mandelonitrile with a low enantioselectivity to (R)-mandelic acid and (S)-mandeloamide in a ratio of about 4:1. In contrast, the same substrate was hydrolyzed by the homologous nitrilase from Alcaligenes faecalis ATCC 8750 almost exclusively to (R)-mandelic acid. A chimeric enzyme between both nitrilases was constructed, which represented in total 16 amino acid exchanges in the central part of the nitrilase from P. fluorescens EBC191. The chimeric enzyme clearly resembled the nitrilase from A. faecalis ATCC 8750 in its turnover characteristics for (R,S)-mandelonitrile and (R,S)-2-phenylpropionitrile (2-PPN) and demonstrated an even higher enantioselectivity for the formation of (R)-mandelic acid than the nitrilase from A. faecalis. An alanine residue (Ala165) in direct proximity to the catalytically active cysteine residue was replaced in the nitrilase from P. fluorescens by a tryptophan residue (as found in the nitrilase from A. faecalis ATCC 8750 and most other bacterial nitrilases) and several other amino acid residues. Those enzyme variants that possessed a larger substituent in position 165 (tryptophan, phenylalanine, tyrosine, or histidine) converted racemic mandelonitrile and 2-PPN to increased amounts of the R enantiomers of the corresponding acids. The enzyme variant Ala165His showed a significantly increased relative activity for mandelonitrile (compared to 2-PPN), and the opposite was found for the enzyme variants carrying aromatic residues in the relevant position. The mutant forms carrying an aromatic substituent in position 165 generally formed significantly reduced amounts of mandeloamide from mandelonitrile. The important effect of the corresponding amino acid residue on the reaction specificity and enantiospecificity of arylacetonitrilases was confirmed by the construction of a Trp164Ala variant of the nitrilase from A. faecalis ATCC 8750. This point mutation converted the highly R-specific nitrilase into an enzyme that converted (R,S)-mandelonitrile preferentially to (S)-mandeloamide.
Nitrilases represent a very important class of enzymes having an array of applications. In the present scenario, where the indepth information about nitrilases is limited, the present work is an attempt to shed light on the residues crucial for the nitrilase activity. The nitrilase sequences demonstrating varying degree of identity with P. putida nitrilase were explored. A stretch of residues, fairly conserved throughout the range of higher (96%) to lower (27%) sequence identity among different nitrilases was selected and investigated for the possible functional role in nitrilase enzyme system. Subsequently, the alanine substitution mutants (T48A, W49A, L50A, P51A, G52A, Y53A and P54A) were generated. Substitution of the rationally selected conserved residues altered the substrate recognition ability, catalysis and affected the substrate specificity but had very little impact on enantioselectivity and pattern of nitrile hydrolysis.
Nitrilase; catalysis; sequence identity; site directed mutagenesis; mutants; conserved residues
The mammalian Nit1 protein is homologous to plant and bacterial nitrilases. In flies and worms, Nit1 is fused to the 5′ end of Fhit, suggesting that Nit1 may functionally interact with the Fhit pathway. Fhit has been shown to play a role of a tumor suppressor. Somatic loss of Fhit in human tissues is associated with a wide variety of cancers. Deletion of Fhit results in a predisposition to induced and spontaneous tumors in mice. It has been suggested that Nit1 collaborates with Fhit in tumor suppression. Similar to mice lacking Fhit, Nit1-deficient mice are more sensitive to carcinogen-induced tumors. It was previously shown that ectopic expression of Nit1 or Fhit led to caspase activation and apoptosis, and that both proteins may play a role in DNA damage-induced apoptosis. In this study, we analyzed the physiological function of Nit1 in T cells using Nit1-knockout mice. Nit1-deficient T cells can undergo apoptosis induced by DNA damage due to irradiation and chemical treatment. However, apoptosis induced by Fas or Ca++ signals appeared to be compromised. Additionally, Nit1 deficiency resulted in T cell hyperproliferative responses induced by TCR stimulation. The expressions of T cell activation markers were elevated in Nit1−/− T cells. There was a spontaneous cell cycle entry and enhanced cell cycle progression in Nit1−/− T cells. These data indicate that Nit1 is a novel negative regulator in primary T cells.
apoptosis; cell cycle; proliferation; T cells; tumor suppressor
The gene encoding a putative nitrilase was identified in the genome sequence of the photosynthetic cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC6803. The gene was amplified by PCR and cloned into an expression vector. The encoded protein was heterologously expressed in the native form and as a His-tagged protein in Escherichia coli, and the recombinant strains were shown to convert benzonitrile to benzoate. The active enzyme was purified to homogeneity and shown by gel filtration to consist probably of 10 subunits. The purified nitrilase converted various aromatic and aliphatic nitriles. The highest enzyme activity was observed with fumarodinitrile, but also some rather hydrophobic aromatic (e.g., naphthalenecarbonitrile), heterocyclic (e.g., indole-3-acetonitrile), or long-chain aliphatic (di-)nitriles (e.g., octanoic acid dinitrile) were converted with higher specific activities than benzonitrile. From aliphatic dinitriles with less than six carbon atoms only 1 mol of ammonia was released per mol of dinitrile, and thus presumably the corresponding cyanocarboxylic acids formed. The purified enzyme was active in the presence of a wide range of organic solvents and the turnover rates of dodecanoic acid nitrile and naphthalenecarbonitrile were increased in the presence of water-soluble and water-immiscible organic solvents.
We compared data from two respondent-driven sampling (RDS) surveys of Seattle-area injection drug users (IDU) to evaluate consistency in repeat RDS surveys.
The RDS-adjusted estimates for 16 key sociodemographic, drug-related, sexual behavior, and HIV- and HCV-related variables were compared in the 2005 and the 2009 National HIV Behavioral Surveillance system surveys (NHBS-IDU1 and NHBS-IDU2). Time trends that might influence the comparisons were assessed using data from reported HIV cases in IDU, surveys of needle exchange users, and two previous IDU studies.
NHBS-IDU2 participants were more likely than NHBS-IDU1 participants to report older age, heroin as their primary injection drug, male-to-male sex, unprotected sex with a partner of non-concordant HIV status, and to self-report HIV-positive status. NHBS-IDU2 participants were less likely to report residence in downtown Seattle, amphetamine injection, and a recent HIV test. Time trends among Seattle-area IDU in age, male-to-male sex and HIV testing could have influenced these differences.
The number and magnitude of the estimated differences between the two RDS surveys appeared to describe materially different populations. This could be a result of changes in the characteristics of Seattle-area IDU over time, of accessing differing subpopulations of Seattle IDU, or of high variability in RDS measurements.
The herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) UL41 gene product, virion host shutoff (vhs), has homologs among five alphaherpesviruses (HSV-1, HSV-2, pseudorabies virus, varicella-zoster virus, and equine herpesvirus 1), suggesting a role for this protein in neurotropism. A mutant virus, termed UL41NHB, which carries a nonsense linker in the UL41 open reading frame at amino acid position 238 was generated. UL41NHB and a marker-rescued virus, UL41NHB-R, were characterized in vitro and tested for their ability to replicate in vitro and in vivo and to establish and reactivate from latency in a mouse eye model. As demonstrated by Western blotting (immunoblotting) and Northern (RNA) blotting procedures, UL41NHB encodes an appropriately truncated vhs protein and, as expected for a vhs null mutant, fails to induce the degradation of cellular glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase mRNA. The growth of UL41NHB was not significantly altered in one-step growth curves in Vero or mouse C3H/10T1/2 cells but was impaired in corneas, in trigeminal ganglia, and in brains of mice compared with the growth of KOS and UL41NHB-R. As a measure of establishment of latency, quantitative DNA PCR showed that the amount of viral DNA within trigeminal ganglia latently infected with UL41NHB was reduced by approximately 30-fold compared with that in KOS-infected ganglia and by 50-fold compared with that in UL41NHB-R-infected ganglia. Explant cocultivation studies revealed a low reactivation frequency for UL41NHB (1 of 28 ganglia, or 4%) compared with that for KOS (56 of 76, or 74%) or UL41NHB-R (13 of 20 or 65%). Taken together, these results demonstrate that vhs represents a determinant of viral pathogenesis.
The nitrilase from Pseudomonas fluorescens EBC191 converted 2-methyl-2-phenylpropionitrile, which contains a quaternary carbon atom in the α-position toward the nitrile group, and also similar sterically demanding substrates, such as 2-hydroxy-2-phenylpropionitrile (acetophenone cyanohydrin) or 2-acetyloxy-2-methylphenylacetonitrile. 2-Methyl-2-phenylpropionitrile was hydrolyzed to almost stoichiometric amounts of the corresponding acid. Acetophenone cyanohydrin was transformed to the corresponding acid (atrolactate) and amide (atrolactamide) at a ratio of about 3.4:1. The (R)-acid and the (S)-amide were formed preferentially from acetophenone cyanohydrin. A homology model of the nitrilase suggested that steric hindrance with amino acid residue Tyr54 could impair the binding or conversion of sterically demanding substrates. Therefore, several enzyme variants that carried mutations in the respective residues were generated and subsequently analyzed for the substrate specificity and enantioselectivity of the reactions. Enzyme variants that demonstrated increased relative activities for the conversion of acetophenone cyanohydrin were identified. The chiral analysis of these reactions demonstrated peculiar reaction kinetics, which suggested that the enzyme variants converted the nonpreferred (S)-enantiomer of acetophenone cyanohydrin with a higher reaction rate than that of the (preferred) (R)-enantiomer. Recombinant whole-cell catalysts that simultaneously produced the nitrilase from P. fluorescens EBC191 and a plant-derived (S)-oxynitrilase from cassava (Manihot esculenta) converted acetophenone plus cyanide at pH 4.5 to (S)-atrolactate and (S)-atrolactamide. These recombinant cells are promising catalysts for the synthesis of stable chiral quaternary carbon centers from ketones.
Enrichment of soil samples for organisms able to utilize the herbicide bromoxynil (3,5-dibromo-4-hydroxybenzonitrile) as a nitrogen source yielded bacterial isolates capable of rapidly metabolizing this compound. One isolate, identified as Klebsiella pneumoniae subsp. ozaenae, could completely convert 0.05% bromoxynil to 3,5-dibromo-4-hydroxybenzoic acid and use the liberated ammonia as a sole nitrogen source. Assays of cell extracts of this organism for the ability to produce ammonia from bromoxynil revealed the presence of a nitrilase (EC 3.5.51) activity. The enzyme could not utilize 3,5-dibromo-4-hydroxybenzamide as a substrate, and no 3,5-dibromo-4-hydroxybenzamide could be detected as a product of bromoxynil transformation. Comparison of related aromatic nitriles as substrates demonstrated that the Klebsiella enzyme is highly specific for bromoxynil.
A nitrilase-mediated pathway has significant advantages in the production of optically pure (R)-(−)-mandelic acid. However, unwanted byproduct, low enantioselectivity, and specific activity reduce its value in practical applications. An ideal nitrilase that can efficiently hydrolyze mandelonitrile to optically pure (R)-(−)-mandelic acid without the unwanted byproduct is needed.
A novel nitrilase (BCJ2315) was discovered from Burkholderia cenocepacia J2315 through phylogeny-based enzymatic substrate specificity prediction (PESSP). This nitrilase is a mandelonitrile hydrolase that could efficiently hydrolyze mandelonitrile to (R)-(−)-mandelic acid, with a high enantiomeric excess of 98.4%. No byproduct was observed in this hydrolysis process. BCJ2315 showed the highest identity of 71% compared with other nitrilases in the amino acid sequence. BCJ2315 possessed the highest activity toward mandelonitrile and took mandelonitrile as the optimal substrate based on the analysis of substrate specificity. The kinetic parameters Vmax, Km, Kcat, and Kcat/Km toward mandelonitrile were 45.4 μmol/min/mg, 0.14 mM, 15.4 s-1, and 1.1×105 M-1s-1, respectively. The recombinant Escherichia coli M15/BCJ2315 had a strong substrate tolerance and could completely hydrolyze mandelonitrile (100 mM) with fewer amounts of wet cells (10 mg/ml) within 1 h.
PESSP is an efficient method for discovering an ideal mandelonitrile hydrolase. BCJ2315 has high affinity and catalytic efficiency toward mandelonitrile. This nitrilase has great advantages in the production of optically pure (R)-(−)-mandelic acid because of its high activity and enantioselectivity, strong substrate tolerance, and having no unwanted byproduct. Thus, BCJ2315 has great potential in the practical production of optically pure (R)-(−)-mandelic acid in the industry.
(R)-(−)-mandelic acid; Nitrilase; Burkholderia cenocepacia J2315; Substrate specificity prediction; Enantioselective hydrolysis
The antituberculosis drug isoniazid (INH) is quickly oxidized by stoichiometric amounts of manganese(III) pyrophosphate. In the presence of nicotinamide coenzymes (NAD+, NADH, nicotinamide mononucleotide [NMN+]) and nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide (DNAD+), INH oxidation produced the formation of INH-coenzyme adducts in addition to known biologically inactive products (isonicotinic acid, isonicotinamide, and isonicotinaldehyde). A pool of INH-NAD(H) adducts preformed in solution allowed the rapid and strong inhibition of in vitro activity of the enoyl-acyl carrier protein reductase InhA, an INH target in the biosynthetic pathway of mycolic acids: the inhibition was 90 or 60% when the adducts were formed in the presence of NAD+ or NADH, respectively. Under similar conditions, no inhibitory activity of INH-NMN(H) and INH-DNAD(H) adducts was detected. When an isolated pool of 100 nM INH-NAD(H) adducts was first incubated with InhA, the enzyme activity was inhibited by 80%; when present in excess, both NADH and decenoyl-coenzyme A are able to prevent this phenomenon. InhA inhibition by several types of INH-coenzyme adducts coexisting in solution is discussed in relation with the structure of the coenzyme, the stereochemistry of the adducts, and their existence as both open and cyclic forms. Thus, manganese(III) pyrophosphate appears to be an efficient and convenient alternative oxidant to mimic the activity of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis KatG catalase-peroxidase and will be useful for further mechanistic studies of INH activation and for structural investigations of reactive INH species in order to promote the design of new inhibitors of InhA as potential antituberculous drugs.
The present report identifies the enzymatic substrates of a member of the mammalian nitrilase-like (Nit) family. Nit2, which is widely distributed in nature, has been suggested to be a tumor suppressor protein. The protein was assumed to be an amidase based on sequence homology to other amidases and on the presence of a putative amidase-like active site. This assumption was recently confirmed by the publication of the crystal structure of mouse Nit2. However, the in vivo substrates were not previously identified. Here we report that rat liver Nit2 is ω-amidodicarboxylate amidohydrolase (E.C. 18.104.22.168; abbreviated ω-amidase), a ubiquitously expressed enzyme that catalyzes a variety of amidase, transamidase, esterase and transesterification reactions. The in vivo amidase substrates are α-ketoglutaramate and α-ketosuccinamate, generated by transamination of glutamine and asparagine, respectively. Glutamine transaminases serve to salvage a number of α-keto acids generated through non-specific transamination reactions (particularly those of the essential amino acids). Asparagine transamination appears to be useful in mitochondrial metabolism and in photorespiration. Glutamine transaminases play a particularly important role in transaminating α-keto-γ-methiolbutyrate, a key component of the methionine salvage pathway. Some evidence suggests that excess α-ketoglutaramate may be neurotoxic. Moreover, α-ketosuccinamate is unstable and is readily converted to a number of hetero aromatic compounds that may be toxic. Thus, an important role of ω-amidase is to remove potentially toxic intermediates by converting α-ketoglutaramate and α-ketosuccinamate to biologically useful α-ketoglutarate and oxaloacetate, respectively. Despite its importance in nitrogen and sulfur metabolism, the biochemical significance of ω-amidase has been largely overlooked. Our report may provide clues regarding the nature of the biological amidase substrate(s) of Nit1 (another member of the Nit family), which is a well-established tumor suppressor protein), and emphasizes a) the crucial role of Nit2 in nitrogen and sulfur metabolism, and b) the possible link of Nit2 to cancer biology.
ω-Amidase; Nit2; α-ketoglutaramate; glutamine transaminases; methionine salvage pathway
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with 25 state and local health departments, began the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System (NHBS) in 2003. The system focuses on people at risk for HIV infection and surveys the three populations at highest risk for HIV in the United States: men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and high-risk heterosexuals. The project collects information from these three populations during rotating 12-month cycles.
Methods for recruiting participants vary for each at-risk population, but NHBS uses a standardized protocol and core questionnaire for each cycle. Participating health departments tailor their questionnaire to collect information about specific prevention programs offered in their geographic area and to address local data needs.
Data collected from NHBS will be used to describe trends in key behavioral risk indicators and evaluate current HIV prevention programs. This information in turn can be used to identify gaps in prevention services and target new prevention activities with the goal of reducing new HIV infections in the United States.