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Braz. j. med. biol. res ; 50(1): e5658, 2017. tab, graf
Article in English | LILACS | ID: biblio-839234


Chitinases are hydrolases that degrade chitin, a polymer of N-acetylglucosamine linked β(1-4) present in the exoskeleton of crustaceans, insects, nematodes and fungal cell walls. A metagenome fosmid library from a wastewater-contaminated soil was functionally screened for chitinase activity leading to the isolation and identification of a chitinase gene named metachi18A. The metachi18A gene was subcloned and overexpressed in Escherichia coli BL21 and the MetaChi18A chitinase was purified by affinity chromatography as a 6xHis-tagged fusion protein. The MetaChi18A enzyme is a 92-kDa protein with a conserved active site domain of glycosyl hydrolases family 18. It hydrolyses colloidal chitin with an optimum pH of 5 and temperature of 50°C. Moreover, the enzyme retained at least 80% of its activity in the pH range from 4 to 9 and 98% at 600 mM NaCl. Thin layer chromatography analyses identified chitobiose as the main product of MetaChi18A on chitin polymers as substrate. Kinetic analysis showed inhibition of MetaChi18A activity at high concentrations of colloidal chitin and 4-methylumbelliferyl N,N′-diacetylchitobiose and sigmoid kinetics at low concentrations of colloidal chitin, indicating a possible conformational change to lead the chitin chain from the chitin-binding to the catalytic domain. The observed stability and activity of MetaChi18A over a wide range of conditions suggest that this chitinase, now characterized, may be suitable for application in the industrial processing of chitin.

Chitinases/genetics , Chitin/genetics , Metagenome/genetics , Chitinases/chemistry , Chitin/chemistry , Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid , Escherichia coli , Gene Expression/genetics , Gene Library , Genetic Vectors , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Substrate Specificity
Braz. j. med. biol. res ; 50(1): e5492, 2017. graf
Article in English | LILACS | ID: biblio-839240


The conventional method for quantification of polyhydroxyalkanoates based on whole-cell methanolysis and gas chromatography (GC) is laborious and time-consuming. In this work, a method based on flow cytometry of Nile red stained bacterial cells was established to quantify poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) production by the diazotrophic and plant-associated bacteria, Herbaspirillum seropedicae and Azospirillum brasilense. The method consists of three steps: i) cell permeabilization, ii) Nile red staining, and iii) analysis by flow cytometry. The method was optimized step-by-step and can be carried out in less than 5 min. The final results indicated a high correlation coefficient (R2=0.99) compared to a standard method based on methanolysis and GC. This method was successfully applied to the quantification of PHB in epiphytic bacteria isolated from rice roots.

Azospirillum brasilense/metabolism , Flow Cytometry/methods , Herbaspirillum/metabolism , Hydroxybutyrates/metabolism , Plant Roots/microbiology , Polyesters/metabolism , Microscopy, Fluorescence
Braz. j. med. biol. res ; 48(8): 683-690, 08/2015. tab, graf
Article in English | LILACS | ID: lil-753056


NifA is the transcriptional activator of the nif genes in Proteobacteria. It is usually regulated by nitrogen and oxygen, allowing biological nitrogen fixation to occur under appropriate conditions. NifA proteins have a typical three-domain structure, including a regulatory N-terminal GAF domain, which is involved in control by fixed nitrogen and not strictly required for activity, a catalytic AAA+ central domain, which catalyzes open complex formation, and a C-terminal domain involved in DNA-binding. In Herbaspirillum seropedicae, a β-proteobacterium capable of colonizing Graminae of agricultural importance, NifA regulation by ammonium involves its N-terminal GAF domain and the signal transduction protein GlnK. When the GAF domain is removed, the protein can still activate nif genes transcription; however, ammonium regulation is lost. In this work, we generated eight constructs resulting in point mutations in H. seropedicae NifA and analyzed their effect on nifH transcription in Escherichia coli and H. seropedicae. Mutations K22V, T160E, M161V, L172R, and A215D resulted in inactive proteins. Mutations Q216I and S220I produced partially active proteins with activity control similar to wild-type NifA. However, mutation G25E, located in the GAF domain, resulted in an active protein that did not require GlnK for activity and was partially sensitive to ammonium. This suggested that G25E may affect the negative interaction between the N-terminal GAF domain and the catalytic central domain under high ammonium concentrations, thus rendering the protein constitutively active, or that G25E could lead to a conformational change comparable with that when GlnK interacts with the GAF domain.

Bacterial Proteins/genetics , Escherichia coli/genetics , Herbaspirillum/genetics , Transcription Factors/genetics , Bacterial Proteins/chemistry , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial , Herbaspirillum/metabolism , Nitrogen Fixation/genetics , Point Mutation , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Transcription Factors/chemistry
Braz. j. med. biol. res ; 45(12): 1127-1134, Dec. 2012. ilus
Article in English | LILACS | ID: lil-659650


DNA repair is crucial to the survival of all organisms. The bacterial RecA protein is a central component in the SOS response and in recombinational and SOS DNA repairs. The RecX protein has been characterized as a negative modulator of RecA activity in many bacteria. The recA and recX genes of Herbaspirillum seropedicae constitute a single operon, and evidence suggests that RecX participates in SOS repair. In the present study, we show that the H. seropedicae RecX protein (RecX Hs) can interact with the H. seropedicaeRecA protein (RecA Hs) and that RecA Hs possesses ATP binding, ATP hydrolyzing and DNA strand exchange activities. RecX Hs inhibited 90% of the RecA Hs DNA strand exchange activity even when present in a 50-fold lower molar concentration than RecA Hs. RecA Hs ATP binding was not affected by the addition of RecX, but the ATPase activity was reduced. When RecX Hs was present before the formation of RecA filaments (RecA-ssDNA), inhibition of ATPase activity was substantially reduced and excess ssDNA also partially suppressed this inhibition. The results suggest that the RecX Hs protein negatively modulates the RecA Hs activities by protein-protein interactions and also by DNA-protein interactions.

Bacterial Proteins/metabolism , Herbaspirillum/chemistry , Rec A Recombinases/metabolism , DNA, Bacterial , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Protein Binding
Braz. j. med. biol. res ; 45(12): 1135-1140, Dec. 2012. ilus, tab
Article in English | LILACS | ID: lil-659653


Azospirillum brasilense is a diazotroph that associates with important agricultural crops and thus has potential to be a nitrogen biofertilizer. The A. brasilense transcription regulator NifA, which seems to be constitutively expressed, activates the transcription of nitrogen fixation genes. It has been suggested that the nitrogen status-signaling protein GlnB regulates NifA activity by direct interaction with the NifA N-terminal GAF domain, preventing the inhibitory effect of this domain under conditions of nitrogen fixation. In the present study, we show that an N-terminal truncated form of NifA no longer required GlnB for activity and lost regulation by ammonium. On the other hand, in trans co-expression of the N-terminal GAF domain inhibited the N-truncated protein in response to fixed nitrogen levels. We also used pull-down assays to show in vitro interaction between the purified N-terminal GAF domain of NifA and the GlnB protein. The results showed that A. brasilense GlnB interacts directly with the NifA N-terminal domain and this interaction is dependent on the presence of ATP and 2-oxoglutarate.

Adenosine Triphosphate/metabolism , Azospirillum brasilense/enzymology , Bacterial Proteins/metabolism , Ketoglutaric Acids/metabolism , Transcription Factors/metabolism , beta-Galactosidase/metabolism , Azospirillum brasilense/metabolism , Genetic Vectors , Plasmids