Gunjan Pandey

Biotechnology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology

PhD
31.56

Publications

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    ABSTRACT: Reception of odorant molecules within insect olfactory organs involves several sequential steps, including their transport through the sensillar lymph, interaction with the respective sensory receptors, and subsequent inactivation. Odorant-degrading enzymes (ODEs) putatively play a role in signal dynamics by rapid degradation of odorants in the vicinity of the receptors, but this hypothesis is mainly supported by in vitro results. We have recently shown that an extracellular carboxylesterase, esterase-6 (EST-6), is involved in the physiological and behavioral dynamics of the response of Drosophila melanogaster to its volatile pheromone ester, cis-vaccenyl acetate. However, as the expression pattern of the Est-6 gene in the antennae is not restricted to the pheromone responding sensilla, we tested here if EST-6 could play a broader function in the antennae. We found that recombinant EST-6 is able to efficiently hydrolyse several volatile esters that would be emitted by its natural food in vitro. Electrophysiological comparisons of mutant Est-6 null flies and a control strain (on the same genetic background) showed that the dynamics of the antennal response to these compounds is influenced by EST-6, with the antennae of the null mutants showing prolonged activity in response to them. Antennal responses to the strongest odorant, pentyl acetate, were then studied in more detail, showing that the repolarization dynamics were modified even at low doses but without modification of the detection threshold. Behavioral choice experiments with pentyl acetate also showed differences between genotypes; attraction to this compound was observed at a lower dose among the null than control flies. As EST-6 is able to degrade various bioactive odorants emitted by food and plays a role in the response to these compounds, we hypothesize a role as an ODE for this enzyme toward food volatiles.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Frontiers in Physiology
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    ABSTRACT: Lignin is a complex aromatic polymer found in plant cell walls that makes up 15 to 40% of plant biomass. The degradation of lignin substructures by bacteria is of emerging interest because it could provide renewable alternative feedstocks and intermediates for chemical manufacturing industries. We have isolated a bacterium, strain SG61-1L, that rapidly degrades all of the stereoisomers of one lignin substructure, guaiacylglycerol-β-guaiacyl ether (GGE), which contains a key β-O-4 linkage found in most intermonomer linkages in lignin. In an effort to understand the rapid degradation of GGE by this bacterium, we heterologously expressed and kinetically characterized a suite of dehydrogenase candidates for the first known step of GGE degradation. We identified a clade of active GGE dehydrogenases and also several other dehydrogenases outside this clade that were all able to oxidize GGE. Several candidates exhibited stereoselectivity toward the GGE stereoisomers, while others had higher levels of catalytic performance than previously described GGE dehydrogenases for all four stereoisomers, indicating a variety of potential applications for these enzymes in the manufacture of lignin-derived commodities.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Applied and Environmental Microbiology
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    Full-text · Conference Paper · Aug 2015
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    Stephen L Pearce · John G Oakeshott · Gunjan Pandey
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    ABSTRACT: Hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH), a synthetic organochloride, was first used as a broad acre insecticide in the 1940s and many HCH degrading bacterial strains have been isolated from around the globe over the last 20 years. To date, the same degradation pathway (the lin pathway) has been implicated in all strains characterized, although the pathway has only been characterized intensively in two strains and for only a single HCH isomer. To further elucidate the evolution of the lin pathway we have biochemically and genetically characterized three HCH degrading strains from the Czech Republic and compared the genomes of these and seven other HCH degrading bacterial strains. The three new strains each yielded a distinct set of metabolites during their degradation of HCH isomers. Variable assembly of the pathway is a common feature across the ten genomes, eight of which (including all three Czech strains) were either missing key lin genes or containing duplicate copies of upstream lin genes (linA-F). The analysis also confirmed the important role of horizontal transfer mediated by insertion sequence IS6100 in the acquisition of the pathway, with a stronger association of IS6100 to the lin genes in the new strains. In one strain, a linA variant was identified that likely caused a novel degradation phenotype involving a shift in isomer preference. This study identifies a number of strains that are in the early stages of lin pathway acquisition and shows that the state of the pathway can explain the degradation patterns observed. Copyright © 2015 Author et al.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · G3-Genes Genomes Genetics

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Mar 2015
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    ABSTRACT: 2,4-Dinitroanisole (DNAN) is an insensitive munitions ingredient used in explosive formulations as a replacement for 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT). Little is known about the environmental behavior of DNAN. There are reports of microbial transformation to dead-end products but no bacteria with complete biodegradation capability have been reported. Nocardioides sp. strain JS1661 was isolated from activated sludge based on its ability to grow on DNAN as the sole source of carbon and energy. Enzyme assays indicated that the first reaction involves hydrolytic release of methanol to form 2,4-DNP. Growth yield and enzyme assays indicated that 2,4-DNP underwent subsequent degradation by a previously established pathway involving formation of a hydride-Meisenheimer complex and release of nitrite. Identification of the genes encoding the key enzymes suggested recent evolution of the pathway by recruitment of a novel hydrolase to extend the well-characterized 2,4-DNP pathway.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Applied and Environmental Microbiology
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    ABSTRACT: The metabolism of volatile signal molecules by odorant degrading enzymes (ODEs) is crucial to the ongoing sensitivity and specificity of chemoreception in various insects, and a few specific esterases, cytochrome P450s, glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) and UDP-glucosyltransferases (UGTs) have previously been implicated in this process. Significant progress has been made in characterizing ODEs in Lepidoptera but very little is known about them in Diptera, including in D. melanogaster, a major insect model. We have therefore carried out a transcriptomic analysis of the antennae of D.melanogaster in order to identify candidate ODEs. Virgin male and female and mated female antennal transcriptomes were determined by RNAseq. As with the Lepidoptera, we found that many esterases, cytochrome P450 enzymes, GSTs and UGTs are expressed in D. melanogaster antennae. As olfactory genes generally show selective expression in the antennae, a comparison to previously published transcriptomes for other tissues has been performed, showing preferential expression in the antennae for one esterase, JHEdup, one cytochrome P450, CYP308a1, and one GST, GSTE4. These largely uncharacterized enzymes are now prime candidates for ODE functions. Jhedup was expressed heterologously and found to have high catalytic activity against a chemically diverse group of known ester odorants for this species. This is a finding consistent with an ODE although it might suggest a general role in clearing several odorants rather than a specific role in clearing a particular odorant. Our findings do not preclude the possibility of odorant degrading functions for other antennally expressed esterases, P450s, GSTs and UGTs but, if so, they suggest that these enzymes also have additional functions in other tissues.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Organochlorine insecticide hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) has recently been classified as a 'Persistent Organic pollutant' by the Stockholm Convention. The LinB haloalkane dehalogenase is a key upstream enzyme in the recently evolved Lin pathway for the catabolism of HCH in bacteria. Here we report a sequence-structure-function analysis of ten naturally occurring and thirteen synthetic mutants of LinB. One of the synthetic mutants was found to have ∼80 fold more activity for β- and δ-hexachlorocyclohexane. Based on detailed biophysical calculations, molecular dynamics and ensemble docking calculations, we propose that the latter variant is more active because of alterations to the shape of its active site and increased conformational plasticity.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Arthrobacter protophormiae RKJ100 was previously characterized for its ability to tolerate extremely high concentrations of o-nitrobenzoate (ONB), a toxic xenobiotic environmental pollutant. The physiological responses of strain RKJ100 to ≥30 mM ONB indicated towards a resistance mechanism manifested via alteration of cell morphology and cell wall structure. In this study, we aim to characterize gene(s) involved in the resistance of strain RKJ100 towards extreme concentrations (i.e. 150 mM) of ONB. Transposon mutagenesis was carried out to generate a mutant library of strain RKJ100, which was then screened for ONB-sensitive mutants. A sensitive mutant was defined and selected as one that could not tolerate ≥30 mM ONB. Molecular and biochemical characterization of this mutant showed that the disruption of endo-β-N-acetylglucosaminidase (ENGase) gene caused the sensitivity. ENGase is an important enzyme for oligosaccharide processing and cell wall recycling in bacteria, fungi, plants and animals. Previous reports have already indicated several possible roles of this enzyme in cellular homeostasis. Results presented here provide the first evidence for its involvement in bacterial resistance towards extreme concentrations of a toxic xenobiotic compound and also suggest that strain RKJ100 employs ENGase as an important component in osmotic shock response for resisting extreme concentrations of ONB.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Extremophiles
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    ABSTRACT: Pandoraea sp. strain SD6-2 is a δ-hexachlorocyclohexane-degrading bacterial strain isolated from lindane-contaminated soil in Queensland, Australia. The genome of SD6-2 was sequenced to investigate its ability to degrade δ-hexachlorocyclohexane. Here we report the annotated genome sequence of this strain.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Genome Announcements
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    ABSTRACT: Ralstonia sp. strain GA3-3 is a hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH)-degrading bacterial strain isolated from suburban soil in Canberra, Australia. The genome of strain GA3-3 was sequenced to investigate its ability to degrade α-HCH. Here, we report the annotated genome sequence of this strain.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Genome Announcements
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    ABSTRACT: Two distinct microbial dehalogenases are involved in the first steps of degradation of hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) isomers. The enzymes, LinA and LinB, catalyze dehydrochlorination and dechlorination reactions of HCH respectively, each with distinct isomer specificities. The two enzymes hold great promise for use in the bioremediation of HCH residues in contaminated soils, although their kinetics and isomer specificities are currently limiting. Here we report the functional screening of a library of 700 LinA and LinB clones generated from soil DNA for improved dechlorination activity by means of a high throughput colorimetric assay. The assay relies upon visual colour change of phenol red in an aqueous medium, due to the pH drop associated with the dechlorination reactions. The assay is performed in a microplate format using intact cells, making it quick and simple to perform and it has high sensitivity, dynamic range and reproducibility. The method has been validated with quantitative gas chromatographic analysis of promising clones, revealing some novel variants of both enzymes with superior HCH degrading activities. Some sphingomonad isolates with potentially superior activities were also identified.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Biodegradation
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    ABSTRACT: Insect carboxylesterases from the αEsterase gene cluster, such as αE7 (also known as E3) from the Australian sheep blowfly Lucilia cuprina (LcαE7), play an important physiological role in lipid metabolism and are implicated in the detoxification of organophosphate (OP) insecticides. Despite the importance of OPs to agriculture and the spread of insect-borne diseases, the molecular basis for the ability of α-carboxylesterases to confer OP resistance to insects is poorly understood. In this work, we used laboratory evolution to increase the thermal stability of LcαE7, allowing its overexpression in Escherichia coli and structure determination. The crystal structure reveals a canonical α/β-hydrolase fold that is very similar to the primary target of OPs (acetylcholinesterase) and a unique N-terminal α-helix that serves as a membrane anchor. Soaking of LcαE7 crystals in OPs led to the capture of a crystallographic snapshot of LcαE7 in its phosphorylated state, which allowed comparison with acetylcholinesterase and rationalization of its ability to protect insects against the effects of OPs. Finally, inspection of the active site of LcαE7 reveals an asymmetric and hydrophobic substrate binding cavity that is well-suited to fatty acid methyl esters, which are hydrolyzed by the enzyme with specificity constants (∼10(6) M(-1) s(-1)) indicative of a natural substrate.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: A 6-chloronicotinic acid mineralizing bacterium was isolated from enrichment cultures originating from imidacloprid-contaminated soil samples. This Bradyrhizobiaceae, designated strain SG-6C, hydrolytically dechlorinated 6-chloronicotinic acid to 6-hydroxynicotinic acid, which was then further metabolised via the nicotinic acid pathway. This metabolic pathway was confirmed by growth and resting cell assays using HPLC and LC-MS studies. A candidate for the gene encoding the initial dechlorination step, named cch2 (for 6-chloronicotinic acid chlorohydrolase), was identified using genome sequencing and its function was confirmed using resting cell assays on E. coli heterologously expressing this gene. The 464 amino acid enzyme was found to be a member of the metal dependent hydrolase superfamily with similarities to the TRZ/ATZ family of chlorohydrolases. We also provide evidence that cch2 was mobilized into this bacterium by an Integrative and Conjugative Element (ICE) that feeds 6-hydroxynicotinic acid into the existing nicotinic acid mineralization pathway.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Aerobic microbial degradation of p-nitrophenol (PNP) has been classically shown to proceed via 'Hydroquinone (HQ) pathway' in Gram-negative bacteria, whereas in Gram-positive PNP degraders it proceed via 'Benzenetriol (BT) pathway'. These pathways are characterized by the ring cleavage of HQ and BT as terminal aromatic intermediates respectively. Earlier reports on PNP degradation have indicated these pathways to be mutually exclusive. We report involvement of both 'HQ' and 'BT' ring cleavage pathways in PNP degradation by Burkholderia sp. strain SJ98. Genetic characterization of an ~41 Kb DNA fragment harboring PNP degradation gene cluster cloned and sequenced from strain SJ98 showed presence of multiple orfs including pnpC and pnpD which corresponded to previously characterized 'benzenetriol-dioxygenase (BtD)' and 'maleylacetate reductase (MaR)' respectively. This gene cluster also showed presence of pnpE1 and pnpE2, which shared strong sequence identity to cognate sub-units of 'hydroquinone dioxygenase' (HqD). Heterologous expression and biochemical characterization ascertained the identity of PnpE1 and PnpE2. In in vitro assay reconstituted heterotetrameric complex of PnpE1 and PnpE2 catalyzed transformation of hydroquinone (HQ) into corresponding hydroxymuconic semialdehyde (HMS) in a substrate specific manner. Together, these results clearly establish branching of PNP degradation in strain SJ98. We propose that strain SJ98 presents a useful model system for future studies on evolution of microbial degradation of PNP.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · AMB Express
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    ABSTRACT: Burkholderia sp. strain SJ98 is known for its chemotaxis towards nitroaromatic compounds (NACs) that are either utilized as sole sources of carbon and energy or co-metabolized in the presence of alternative carbon sources. Here we test for the chemotaxis of this strain towards six chloro-nitroaromatic compounds (CNACs), namely 2-chloro-4-nitrophenol (2C4NP), 2-chloro-3-nitrophenol (2C3NP), 4-chloro-2-nitrophenol (4C2NP), 2-chloro-4-nitrobenzoate (2C4NB), 4-chloro-2-nitrobenzoate (4C2NB) and 5-chloro-2-nitrobenzoate (5C2NB), and examine its relationship to the degradation of such compounds. Strain SJ98 could mineralize 2C4NP, 4C2NB and 5C2NB, and co-metabolically transform 2C3NP and 2C4NB in the presence of an alternative carbon source, but was unable to transform 4C2NP under these conditions. Positive chemotaxis was only observed towards the five metabolically transformed CNACs. Moreover, the chemotaxis was induced by growth in the presence of the metabolisable CNAC. It was also competitively inhibited by the presence of nitroaromatic compounds (NACs) that it could metabolise but not by succinate or aspartate. Burkholderia sp. strain SJ98 exhibits metabolic transformation of, and inducible chemotaxis towards CNACs. Its chemotactic responses towards these compounds are related to its previously demonstrated chemotaxis towards NACs that it can metabolise, but it is independently inducible from its chemotaxis towards succinate or aspartate.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · BMC Microbiology
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    No preview · Article · Jan 2012
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    ABSTRACT: Here we report specific activities of all seven naturally occurring LinA variants towards three different isomers, α, γ and δ, of a priority persistent pollutant, hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH). Sequence-structure-function differences contributing to the differences in their stereospecificity for α-, γ-, and δ-HCH and enantiospecificity for (+)- and (-)-α -HCH are also discussed. Enzyme kinetic studies were performed with purified LinA variants. Models of LinA2(B90A) A110T, A111C, A110T/A111C and LinA1(B90A) were constructed using the FoldX computer algorithm. Turnover rates (min(-1)) showed that the LinAs exhibited differential substrate affinity amongst the four HCH isomers tested. α-HCH was found to be the most preferred substrate by all LinA's, followed by the γ and then δ isomer. The kinetic observations suggest that LinA-γ1-7 is the best variant for developing an enzyme-based bioremediation technology for HCH. The majority of the sequence variation in the various linA genes that have been isolated is not neutral, but alters the enantio- and stereoselectivity of the encoded proteins.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Strain SG-6C (DSM 23264, CCM 7827) is a chemolithoautotrophic bacterium of the family Bradyrhizobiaceae. It can also grow heterotrophically under appropriate environmental conditions. Here we report the annotated genome sequence of this strain in a single 4.3-Mb circular scaffold.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · Journal of bacteriology
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    ABSTRACT: Here, we compare the evolutionary routes by which bacteria and insects have evolved enzymatic processes for the degradation of four classes of synthetic chemical insecticide. For insects, the selective advantage of such degradative activities is survival on exposure to the insecticide, whereas for the bacteria the advantage is simply a matter of access to additional sources of nutrients. Nevertheless, bacteria have evolved highly efficient enzymes from a wide variety of enzyme families, whereas insects have relied upon generalist esterase-, cytochrome P450- and glutathione-S-transferase-dependent detoxification systems. Moreover, the mutant insect enzymes are less efficient kinetically and less diverged in sequence from their putative ancestors than their bacterial counterparts. This presumably reflects several advantages that bacteria have over insects in the acquisition of new enzymatic functions, such as a broad biochemical repertoire from which new functions can be evolved, large population sizes, high effective mutation rates, very short generation times and access to genetic diversity through horizontal gene transfer. Both the insect and bacterial systems support recent theory proposing that new biochemical functions often evolve from 'promiscuous' activities in existing enzymes, with subsequent mutations then enhancing those activities. Study of the insect enzymes will help in resistance management, while the bacterial enzymes are potential bioremediants of insecticide residues in a range of contaminated environments.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · Evolutionary Applications

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