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Characterization of a novel enzyme - Starmerella bombicola lactone esterase (SBLE) - responsible for sophorolipid lactonization

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We recently discovered a novel enzyme in the exoproteome of Starmerella bombicola, which is structurally related to Candida antarctica lipase A. A knockout strain for this enzyme does no longer produce lactonic sophorolipids, prompting us to believe that this protein is the missing S. bombicola lactone esterase (SBLE). SBLE catalyzes a rather unusual reaction, i.e., an intramolecular esterification (lactonization) of acidic sophorolipids in an aqueous environment, which raised questions about its activity and mode of action. Here, we report the heterologous production of this enzyme in Pichia pastoris and its purification in a two-step strategy. Purified recombinant SBLE (rSBLE) was used to perform HPLC and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LCMS)-based assays with different sophorolipid mixtures. We experimentally confirmed that SBLE is able to perform ring closure of acetylated acidic sophorolipids. This substrate was selected for rSBLE kinetic studies to estimate the apparent values of K (m) . We established that rSBLE displays optimal activity in the pH range of 3.5 to 6 and has an optimal temperature in the range of 20 to 50 A degrees C. Additionally, we generated a rSBLE mutant through site-directed mutagenesis of Ser(194) in the predicted active site pocket and show that this mutant is lacking the ability to lactonize sophorolipids. We therefore propose that SBLE operates via the common serine hydrolase mechanism in which the catalytic serine residue is assisted by a His/Asp pair.
Tijdschrift: Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
ISSN: 0175-7598
Issue: 22
Volume: 100
Pagina's: 9529 - 9541
Jaar van publicatie:2016