Isolation and analysis of the gene encoding the pyruvate-ferredoxin oxidoreductase of Desulfovibrio africanus, production of the recombinant enzyme in Escherichia coli, and effect of carboxy-terminal deletions on its stability.

Journal of bacteriology

PubMedID: 9294422

Pieulle L, Magro V, Hatchikian EC. Isolation and analysis of the gene encoding the pyruvate-ferredoxin oxidoreductase of Desulfovibrio africanus, production of the recombinant enzyme in Escherichia coli, and effect of carboxy-terminal deletions on its stability. J Bacteriol. 1997;179(18):5684-92.
Previous studies have shown that the pyruvate-ferredoxin oxidoreductase (POR) of the sulfate-reducing bacterium Desulfovibrio africanus is a homodimer that contains one thiamine pyrophosphate and three [4Fe-4S]2+/1+ centers/subunit. Interestingly, the enzyme isolated from a strictly anaerobic bacterium is highly stable in the presence of oxygen, in contrast to the other PORs characterized in anaerobic organisms (L. Pieulle, B. Guigliarelli, M. Asso, F. Dole, A. Bernadac, and E. C. Hatchikian, Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1250:49-59, 1995). We report here the determination of the nucleotide sequence of the por gene encoding the D. africanus POR. The amino acid sequence deduced from this nucleotide sequence corresponds to the first primary structure of a homodimeric POR from strictly anaerobic bacteria. The subunit of the D. africanus POR contains two ferredoxin-type [4Fe-4S] cluster binding motifs (CX2CX2CX3CP) and four additional highly conserved cysteines belonging to a nontypical motif. These 12 cysteine residues may coordinate the three Fe-S centers present in D. africanus POR. The thiamine pyrophosphate binding domain is located in the C-terminal part of the protein close to the four conserved cysteine residues. The D. africanus enzyme sequence appears homologous to the other POR sequences. However, the enzyme differs from all other PORs by a C-terminal extension of about 60 residues of its polypeptide chain. The two cysteine residues located in this additional region may be involved in the formation of a disulfide bridge associated with the activation process of the catalytic activity. The por gene has been expressed, for the first time, in anaerobically grown Escherichia coli behind the isopropyl-beta-D-thiogalactopyranoside-inducible tac promoter, resulting in the production of POR in its active form. The recombinant enzyme is stable toward oxygen during several days, and initial characterization of the recombinant POR showed that its activity increased in the presence of dithioerythritol. These properties indicate that the recombinant POR behaves like the native D. africanus enzyme. The study of carboxy-terminal deletion mutants strongly suggests that deletions in the C-terminal region of D. africanus enzyme can have dramatic effects on the stability of the enzyme toward oxygen.