A Structurally Novel Chitinase from the Chitin-Degrading Hyperthermophilic Archaeon Thermococcus chitonophagus.

Applied and environmental microbiology

PubMedID: 27060120

Horiuchi A, Aslam M, Kanai T, Atomi H. A Structurally Novel Chitinase from the Chitin-Degrading Hyperthermophilic Archaeon Thermococcus chitonophagus. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016;.
UNLABELLED
A structurally novel chitinase, Tc-ChiD, was identified from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Thermococcus chitonophagus, which can grow on chitin as the sole organic carbon source. The gene encoding Tc-ChiD contains regions corresponding to a signal sequence, two chitin-binding domains, and a putative catalytic domain. This catalytic domain shows no similarity with previously characterized chitinases but resembles an uncharacterized protein found in the mesophilic anaerobic bacterium Clostridium botulinum Two recombinant Tc-ChiD proteins were produced in Escherichia coli, one without the signal sequence [Tc-ChiD(?S)] and the other corresponding only to the putative catalytic domain [Tc-ChiD(?BD)]. Enzyme assays using N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) oligomers indicated that both proteins hydrolyze GlcNAc oligomers longer than (GlcNAc)4 Chitinase assays using colloidal chitin suggested that Tc-ChiD is an exo-type chitinase that releases (GlcNAc)2 or (GlcNAc)3 Analysis with GlcNAc oligomers modified with p-nitrophenol suggested that Tc-ChiD recognizes the reducing end of chitin chains. While Tc-ChiD(?BD) displayed a higher initial velocity than that of Tc-ChiD(?S), we found that the presence of the two chitin-binding domains significantly enhanced the thermostability of the catalytic domain. In T. chitonophagus, another chitinase ortholog that is similar to the Thermococcus kodakarensis chitinase ChiA is present and can degrade chitin from the nonreducing ends. Therefore, the presence of multiple chitinases in T. chitonophagus with different modes of cleavage may contribute to its unique ability to efficiently degrade chitin.

IMPORTANCE
A structurally novel chitinase, Tc-ChiD, was identified from Thermococcus chitonophagus, a hyperthermophilic archaeon. The protein contains a signal peptide for secretion, two chitin-binding domains, and a catalytic domain that shows no similarity with previously characterized chitinases. Tc-ChiD thus represents a new family of chitinases. Tc-ChiD is an exo-type chitinase that recognizes the reducing end of chitin chains and releases (GlcNAc)2 or (GlcNAc)3 As a thermostable chitinase that recognizes the reducing end of chitin chains was not previously known, Tc-ChiD may be useful in a wide range of enzyme-based technologies to degrade and utilize chitin.