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1.  Isolation of a Novel Cutinase Homolog with Polyethylene Terephthalate-Degrading Activity from Leaf-Branch Compost by Using a Metagenomic Approach 
The gene encoding a cutinase homolog, LC-cutinase, was cloned from a fosmid library of a leaf-branch compost metagenome by functional screening using tributyrin agar plates. LC-cutinase shows the highest amino acid sequence identity of 59.7% to Thermomonospora curvata lipase. It also shows the 57.4% identity to Thermobifida fusca cutinase. When LC-cutinase without a putative signal peptide was secreted to the periplasm of Escherichia coli cells with the assistance of the pelB leader sequence, more than 50% of the recombinant protein, termed LC-cutinase*, was excreted into the extracellular medium. It was purified and characterized. LC-cutinase* hydrolyzed various fatty acid monoesters with acyl chain lengths of 2 to 18, with a preference for short-chain substrates (C4 substrate at most) most optimally at pH 8.5 and 50°C, but could not hydrolyze olive oil. It lost activity with half-lives of 40 min at 70°C and 7 min at 80°C. LC-cutinase* had an ability to degrade poly(ε-caprolactone) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The specific PET-degrading activity of LC-cutinase* was determined to be 12 mg/h/mg of enzyme (2.7 mg/h/μkat of pNP-butyrate-degrading activity) at pH 8.0 and 50°C. This activity is higher than those of the bacterial and fungal cutinases reported thus far, suggesting that LC-cutinase* not only serves as a good model for understanding the molecular mechanism of PET-degrading enzyme but also is potentially applicable for surface modification and degradation of PET.
PMCID: PMC3294458  PMID: 22194294
2.  RESOPS: A Database for Analyzing the Correspondence of RNA Editing Sites to Protein Three-Dimensional Structures 
Plant and Cell Physiology  2009;50(11):1865-1873.
Transcripts from mitochondrial and chloroplast DNA of land plants often undergo cytidine to uridine conversion-type RNA editing events. RESOPS is a newly built database that specializes in displaying RNA editing sites of land plant organelles on protein three-dimensional (3D) structures to help elucidate the mechanisms of RNA editing for gene expression regulation. RESOPS contains the following information: unedited and edited cDNA sequences with notes for the target nucleotides of RNA editing, conceptual translation from the edited cDNA sequence in pseudo-UniProt format, a list of proteins under the influence of RNA editing, multiple amino acid sequence alignments of edited proteins, the location of amino acid residues coded by codons under the influence of RNA editing in protein 3D structures and the statistics of biased distributions of the edited residues with respect to protein structures. Most of the data processing procedures are automated; hence, it is easy to keep abreast of updated genome and protein 3D structural data. In the RESOPS database, we clarified that the locations of residues switched by RNA editing are significantly biased to protein structural cores. The integration of different types of data in the database also help advance the understanding of RNA editing mechanisms. RESOPS is accessible at
PMCID: PMC2775959  PMID: 19808808
Chloroplast; Mitochondrion; Molecular evolution; Organelle genome; Protein 3D structure; RNA editing

Results 1-2 (2)