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1.  Crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of Aspergillus oryzae catechol oxidase 
Catechol oxidase from A. oryzae was crystallized by the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method.
Catechol oxidase is an enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of o-diphenols to the corresponding o-quinones. It is a copper-containing enzyme with a binuclear copper active site. Here, the crystallization and multiple-wavelength anomalous dispersion data collection of catechol oxidase from the mould fungus Aspergillus oryzae are described. During the purification, three forms of the enzyme (39.3, 40.5 and 44.3 kDa) were obtained. A mixture of these three forms was initially crystallized and gave crystals that diffracted to 2.5 Å resolution and belonged to space group P3221, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 118.9, c = 84.5 Å, α = β = 90, γ = 120°. A preparation containing only the shorter form (39.3 kDa) produced crystals that diffracted to 2.9 Å resolution and belonged to space group P212121, with unit-cell parameters a = 51.8, b = 95.3, c = 139.5 Å, α = β = γ = 90°.
PMCID: PMC3107139  PMID: 21636908
catechol oxidases; Aspergillus oryzae; copper oxidases
2.  Methods for identifying lipoxygenase producing microorganisms on agar plates 
AMB Express  2012;2:17.
Plate assays for lipoxygenase producing microorganisms on agar plates have been developed. Both potassium iodide-starch and indamine dye formation methods were effective for detecting soybean lipoxygenase activity on agar plates. A positive result was also achieved using the β-carotene bleaching method, but the sensitivity of this method was lower than the other two methods. The potassium iodide-starch and indamine dye formation methods were also applied for detecting lipoxygenase production by Trichoderma reesei and Pichia pastoris transformants expressing the lipoxygenase gene of the fungus Gaeumannomyces graminis. In both cases lipoxygenase production in the transformants could be identified. For detection of the G. graminis lipoxygenase produced by Aspergillus nidulans the potassium iodide-starch method was successful. When Escherichia coli was grown on agar and soybean lipoxygenase was applied on the culture lipoxygenase activity could clearly be detected by the indamine dye formation method. This suggests that the method has potential for screening of metagenomic libraries in E. coli for lipoxygenase activity.
PMCID: PMC3350414  PMID: 22449314
3.  Exploring laccase-like multicopper oxidase genes from the ascomycete Trichoderma reesei: a functional, phylogenetic and evolutionary study 
BMC Biochemistry  2010;11:32.
The diversity and function of ligninolytic genes in soil-inhabiting ascomycetes has not yet been elucidated, despite their possible role in plant litter decay processes. Among ascomycetes, Trichoderma reesei is a model organism of cellulose and hemicellulose degradation, used for its unique secretion ability especially for cellulase production. T. reesei has only been reported as a cellulolytic and hemicellulolytic organism although genome annotation revealed 6 laccase-like multicopper oxidase (LMCO) genes. The purpose of this work was i) to validate the function of a candidate LMCO gene from T. reesei, and ii) to reconstruct LMCO phylogeny and perform evolutionary analysis testing for positive selection.
After homologous overproduction of a candidate LMCO gene, extracellular laccase activity was detected when ABTS or SRG were used as substrates, and the recombinant protein was purified to homogeneity followed by biochemical characterization. The recombinant protein, called TrLAC1, has a molecular mass of 104 kDa. Optimal temperature and pH were respectively 40-45°C and 4, by using ABTS as substrate. TrLAC1 showed broad pH stability range of 3 to 7. Temperature stability revealed that TrLAC1 is not a thermostable enzyme, which was also confirmed by unfolding studies monitored by circular dichroism. Evolutionary studies were performed to shed light on the LMCO family, and the phylogenetic tree was reconstructed using maximum-likelihood method. LMCO and classical laccases were clearly divided into two distinct groups. Finally, Darwinian selection was tested, and the results showed that positive selection drove the evolution of sequences leading to well-known laccases involved in ligninolysis. Positively-selected sites were observed that could be used as targets for mutagenesis and functional studies between classical laccases and LMCO from T. reesei.
Homologous production and evolutionary studies of the first LMCO from the biomass-degrading fungus T. reesei gives new insights into the physicochemical parameters and biodiversity in this family.
PMCID: PMC2939539  PMID: 20735824
4.  Secreted fungal sulfhydryl oxidases: sequence analysis and characterisation of a representative flavin-dependent enzyme from Aspergillus oryzae 
BMC Biochemistry  2010;11:31.
Sulfhydryl oxidases are flavin-dependent enzymes that catalyse the formation of de novo disulfide bonds from free thiol groups, with the reduction of molecular oxygen to hydrogen peroxide. Sulfhydryl oxidases have been investigated in the food industry to remove the burnt flavour of ultraheat-treated milk and are currently studied as potential crosslinking enzymes, aiming at strengthening wheat dough and improving the overall bread quality.
In the present study, potential sulfhydryl oxidases were identified in the publicly available fungal genome sequences and their sequence characteristics were studied. A representative sulfhydryl oxidase from Aspergillus oryzae, AoSOX1, was expressed in the fungus Trichoderma reesei. AoSOX1 was produced in relatively good yields and was purified and biochemically characterised. The enzyme catalysed the oxidation of thiol-containing compounds like glutathione, D/L-cysteine, beta-mercaptoethanol and DTT. The enzyme had a melting temperature of 57°C, a pH optimum of 7.5 and its enzymatic activity was completely inhibited in the presence of 1 mM ZnSO4.
Eighteen potentially secreted sulfhydryl oxidases were detected in the publicly available fungal genomes analysed and a novel proline-tryptophan dipeptide in the characteristic motif CXXC, where X is any amino acid, was found. A representative protein, AoSOX1 from A. oryzae, was produced in T. reesei in an active form and had the characteristics of sulfhydryl oxidases. Further testing of the activity on thiol groups within larger peptides and on protein level will be needed to assess the application potential of this enzyme.
PMCID: PMC2936869  PMID: 20727152

Results 1-4 (4)