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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Molecular characterization of a thermostable cyanophycin synthetase from the thermophilic cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain MA19 and in vitro synthesis of cyanophycin and related polyamides.

The thermophilic cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain MA19 contained the structural genes for cyanophycin synthetase (cphA) and cyanophycinase (cphB), which were identified, cloned, and sequenced in this study. The translation products of cphA and cphB exhibited high levels of similarity to corresponding proteins of other cyanobacteria, such as Anabaena variabilis and Synechocystis sp. Recombinant cells of Escherichia coli harboring cphA colinear with lacPO accumulated cyanophycin that accounted for up to 25% (wt/wt) of the dry cell matter in the presence of isopropyl-beta-D-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG). The cyanophycin synthetase was enriched 123-fold to electrophoretic homogeneity from the soluble fraction of the recombinant cells by anion-exchange chromatography, affinity chromatography, and gel filtration chromatography. The purified cyanophycin synthetase maintained the parental thermophilic character and was active even after prolonged incubation at 50 degrees C; in the presence of ectoine the enzyme retained 90% of its activity even after 2 h of incubation. The in vitro activity of the enzyme depended on ATP, primers, and both substrates, L-arginine and L-aspartic acid. In addition to native cyanophycin, the purified enzyme accepted a modified cyanophycin containing less arginine, alpha-arginyl aspartic acid dipeptide, and poly-alpha,beta-DL-aspartic acid as primers and also incorporated beta-hydroxyaspartic acid instead of L-aspartic acid or L-canavanine instead of L-arginine at a significant rate. The lack of specificity of this thermostable enzyme with respect to primers and substrates, the thermal stability of the enzyme, and the finding that the enzyme is suitable for in vitro production of cyanophycin make it an interesting candidate for biotechnological processes.[1]


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