Pectin methylesterase removes the methyl groups from the main chain of pectin, the major component of the middle lamella of the plant cell wall. The enzyme is involved in plant cell-wall development, is part of the enzymatic arsenal used by microorganisms to attack plants and also has a wide range of applications in the industrial sector. Therefore, there is a considerable interest in studies of the structure and function of this enzyme. In this work, the pectin methylesterase from Sphenophorus levis was produced in Pichia pastoris and purified. Crystals belonging to the monoclinic space group C2, with unit-cell parameters a = 122.181, b = 82.213, c = 41.176 Å, β = 97.48°, were obtained by the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion method and an X-ray diffraction data set was collected to 2.1 Å resolution. Structure refinement and model building are in progress.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The availability of sequenced insect genomes has allowed for discovery and functional characterization of novel genes and proteins. We report use of the Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) (red flour beetle) genome to identify, clone, express, and characterize a novel endo-β-1,4-glucanase we named TcEG1 (T. castaneum endoglucanase 1). Sequence analysis of a full-length TcEG1 cDNA clone (1356bp) revealed sequence homology to enzymes in glycosyl hydrolase family 9 (GHF9), and verified presence of a change (Gly for Ser) in the conserved catalytic domain for GHF9 cellulases. This TcEG1 cDNA clone was predicted to encode a 49.5kDa protein with a calculated pI of 5.39. Heterologous expression of TcEG1 in Drosophila S2 cell cultures resulted in secretion of a 51-kDa protein, as determined by Western blotting. The expressed protein was used to characterize TcEG1 enzymatic activity against two cellulose substrates to determine its specificity and stability. Our data support that TcEG1 as a novel endo-β-1,4-glucanase, the first functional characterization of a cellulase enzyme derived from an insect genome with potential applications in the biofuel industry due to its high relative activity at alkaline pH.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An analysis has been made, from the data which are currently available, of the solvent content of 116 different crystal forms of globular proteins. The fraction of the crystal volume occupied by solvent is most commonly near 43 %, but has been observed to have values from about 27 to 65%. In many cases this range will be sufficiently restrictive to enable the probable number of molecules in the crystallographic asymmetric unit to be determined directly from the molecular weight of the protein and the space group and unit cell dimensions of the crystal.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To gain better knowledge of the variety of digestive enzymes in phytophagous coleopteran pests, a sequencing screen of 76 random cDNAs from a gut library from Phaedon cochleariae larvae was performed. The screen yielded 21 cDNAs encoding amino-acid sequences homologous to known digestive enzymes, most of them were cell wall-hydrolysing enzymes. The deduced protein sequences of 7 cDNAs encoding putative alpha-amylase, cysteine proteinase, trypsin, chymotrypsin, cellulase, pectinase and xylanase display all the structural features that characterize these enzymes in other eukaryotic organisms. Except the alpha-amylase and chymotrypsin cDNAs, the other cDNAs probably derive from multigene families. The distribution of the corresponding enzymatic activities at various developmental stages of P. cochleariae was examined. alpha-amylase activity is present in guts of larvae and adults, proteinases are abundant in guts of larvae and adults, but scarce in eggs and larval carcasses, xylanases are present in the guts of larvae and adults, as well as in carcasses of larvae, whereas cellulase and pectinase activities are distributed in larval and adult guts, larval carcasses, and eggs. Only a minor fraction of the cellulases is secreted by microorganisms, suggesting that P. cochleariae synthesizes most of its own cell-wall hydrolysing enzymes. The physiological role of the enzymes is discussed, as well as the significance of these results for pest management strategies involving transgenic plants expressing enzyme inhibitors.
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