A Nitrile Hydratase in the Eukaryote Monosiga brevicollis

European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 02/2008; 3(12):e3976. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003976
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Bacterial nitrile hydratase (NHases) are important industrial catalysts and waste water remediation tools. In a global computational screening of conventional and metagenomic sequence data for NHases, we detected the two usually separated NHase subunits fused in one protein of the choanoflagellate Monosiga brevicollis, a recently sequenced unicellular model organism from the closest sister group of Metazoa. This is the first time that an NHase is found in eukaryotes and the first time it is observed as a fusion protein. The presence of an intron, subunit fusion and expressed sequence tags covering parts of the gene exclude contamination and suggest a functional gene. Phylogenetic analyses and genomic context imply a probable ancient horizontal gene transfer (HGT) from proteobacteria. The newly discovered NHase might open biotechnological routes due to its unconventional structure, its new type of host and its apparent integration into eukaryotic protein networks.

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    ABSTRACT: It is generally agreed that horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is common in phagotrophic protists. However, the overall scale of HGT and the cumulative impact of acquired genes on the evolution of these organisms remain largely unknown. Choanoflagellates are phagotrophs and the closest living relatives of animals. In this study, we performed phylogenomic analyses to investigate the scale of HGT and the evolutionary importance of horizontally acquired genes in the choanoflagellate Monosiga brevicollis. Our analyses identified 405 genes that are likely derived from algae and prokaryotes, accounting for approximately 4.4% of the Monosiga nuclear genome. Many of the horizontally acquired genes identified in Monosiga were probably acquired from food sources, rather than by endosymbiotic gene transfer (EGT) from obsolete endosymbionts or plastids. Of 193 genes identified in our analyses with functional information, 84 (43.5%) are involved in carbohydrate or amino acid metabolism, and 45 (23.3%) are transporters and/or involved in response to oxidative, osmotic, antibiotic, or heavy metal stresses. Some identified genes may also participate in biosynthesis of important metabolites such as vitamins C and K12, porphyrins and phospholipids. Our results suggest that HGT is frequent in Monosiga brevicollis and might have contributed substantially to its adaptation and evolution. This finding also highlights the importance of HGT in the genome and organismal evolution of phagotrophic eukaryotes.
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    Marine Drugs 08/2013; 11(8):3046-67. DOI:10.3390/md11083046 · 3.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The nitrilase from Pseudomonas fluorescens EBC191 was modified by introducing random mutations via error-prone PCR techniques in order to obtain nitrilase variants, which form increased amounts of mandeloamide from racemic mandelonitrile. A screening system was established and experimentally optimized, which allowed the screening of nitrilase variants with the intended phenotype. This system was based on the simultaneous expression of nitrilase variants and the mandeloamide converting amidase from Rhodococcus rhodochrous MP50 in recombinant Escherichia coli cells. The formation of increased amounts of mandeloamide from mandelonitrile by the nitrilase variants was detected after the addition of hydroxylamine and ferric iron ions by taking advantage of the acyltransferase activity of the amidase, which resulted in the formation of coloured iron(III)-hydroxamate complexes from mandeloamide. The system was applied for the screening of libraries of nitrilase variants and 30 enzyme variants identified, which formed increased amounts of mandeloamide from racemic mandelonitrile. The increase in amide formation was quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography and the genes encoding the relevant nitrilase variants sequenced. Thus, different types of mutations were identified. One group of mutants carried different deletions at the carboxy-terminus. The other types of variants carried amino acid exchanges in positions that had not been related previously to an increased amide formation. Finally, a nitrilase variant was created by combining two independently obtained point mutations. This enzyme variant demonstrated a true nitrile hydratase activity as it formed mandeloamide and mandelic acid in a ratio of about 19:1 from racemic mandelonitrile.
    Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 05/2013; 98(4). DOI:10.1007/s00253-013-4968-9 · 3.81 Impact Factor

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