Characterization of a thermostable β-glucosidase from Aspergillus fumigatus Z5, and its functional expression in Pichia pastoris X33
© Liu et al; BioMed Central Ltd. 2012
Received: 20 October 2011
Accepted: 17 February 2012
Published: 17 February 2012
Recently, the increased demand of energy has strongly stimulated the research on the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into reducing sugars for the subsequent production, and β-glucosidases have been the focus because of their important roles in a variety fundamental biological processes and the synthesis of useful β-glucosides. Although the β-glucosidases of different sources have been investigated, the amount of β-glucosidases are insufficient for effective conversion of cellulose. The goal of this work was to search for new resources of β-glucosidases, which was thermostable and with high catalytic efficiency.
In this study, a thermostable native β-glucosidase (nBgl3), which is secreted by the lignocellulose-decomposing fungus Aspergillus fumigatus Z5, was purified to electrophoretic homogeneity. Internal sequences of nBgl3 were obtained by LC-MS/MS, and its encoding gene, bgl3, was cloned based on the peptide sequences obtained from the LC-MS/MS results. bgl 3 contains an open reading frame (ORF) of 2622 bp and encodes a protein with a predicted molecular weight of 91.47 kDa; amino acid sequence analysis of the deduced protein indicated that nBgl3 is a member of the glycoside hydrolase family 3. A recombinant β-glucosidase (rBgl3) was obtained by the functional expression of bgl 3 in Pichia pastoris X33. Several biochemical properties of purified nBgl3 and rBgl3 were determined - both enzymes showed optimal activity at pH 6.0 and 60°C, and they were stable for a pH range of 4-7 and a temperature range of 50 to 70°C. Of the substrates tested, nBgl3 and rBgl3 displayed the highest activity toward 4-Nitrophenyl-β-D-glucopyranoside (pNPG), with specific activities of 103.5 ± 7.1 and 101.7 ± 5.2 U mg-1, respectively. However, these enzymes were inactive toward carboxymethyl cellulose, lactose and xylan.
An native β-glucosidase nBgl3 was purified to electrophoretic homogeneity from the crude extract of A. fumigatus Z5. The gene bgl 3 was cloned based on the internal sequences of nBgl3 obtained from the LC-MS/MS results, and the gene bgl3 was expressed in Pichia pastoris X33. The results of various biochemical properties of two enzymes including specific activity, pH stability, thermostability, and kinetic properties (Km and Vmax) indicated that they had no significant differences.
The β-glucosidase enzyme plays important roles and exists in most of the living kingdoms, from simple bacteria to highly complex mammals . β-glucosidase obtained from various sources has been widely used for many applications, such as the enzymatic saccharification of cellulosic materials, the liberation of flavor compounds in fruit juices and wines, and the release of phenolic compounds with antioxidant activity from fruit and vegetable residues [2–4]. The increased need for a considerable β-glucosidase activity, especially in the enzymatic saccharification of cellulose for bioenergy, has strongly stimulated the study of β-glucosidase.
Cellulose, a virtually inexhaustible source of renewable bioenergy, is the most abundant polysaccharide in nature and the major component of plant cell walls . However, without appropriate treatment, a mass of agricultural, industrial and municipal cellulosic wastes has accumulated, resulting in the risk of environmental pollution . Various methods, such as composting, mechanical treatment and chemical treatment, have been applied to treat these cellulosic wastes [7, 8]. Ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass has received much attention due to the immense potential for conversion of renewable biomaterials into biofuels and chemicals . The hydrolysis of cellulose primarily depends on at least three enzymes, including endoglucanases (EGs), cellobiohydrolases (CBHs) and β-glucosidases, which work synergistically to degrade the cellulose . EGs and CBHs can degrade native cellulose synergistically to generate cellobiose, which is a product inhibitor for these enzymes . However, β-glucosidases can scavenge the end product cellobiose by cleaving the β (1-4) linkage to generate D-glucose. Thus, β-glucosidases allow the cellulolytic enzymes to function more efficiently by producing glucose from cellobiose and reducing cellobiose inhibition . Furthermore, when a β-glucosidase was added to lignocellulosic materials, the release of phenolic compounds increased, indicating that cellulose-degrading enzymes may also be involved in the breakdown of polymeric phenolic matrices .
Enzyme thermostability is essential during the saccharification step because steam is always used to make the substrates more suitable for enzymatic hydrolysis . Thermostable enzymes can be used simultaneously and directly in the saccharification procedure without a pre-cooling process. Obtaining efficient and thermostable β-glucosidase has become the goal of much research worldwide. Currently, most of the β-glucosidases for industrial applications are secreted by microorganisms, and β-glucosidases from fungi have been extensively studied in some model organisms, such as Trichoderma reesei and Phanerochaete chrysosporium. The β-glucosidases from some species of Aspergillus are also well studied and include the β-glucosidase secreted by Aspergillus terreus (EC 184.108.40.206) , the β-glucosidase purified from crude cellulase of Aspergillus niger, and a novel, highly glucose-tolerant β-glucosidase from Aspergillus oryzae. However, few researchers, except Rudick & Elbein , have focused on β-glucosidase from the thermophilic strain A. fumigatus, which can secret thermostable cellulase. The lignocellulose-decomposing fungus A. fumigatus Z5 was isolated from compost, and the preliminary results indicated that thermostable β-glucosidase was secreted into the medium when cellulose was used as the sole carbon source.
In this study, a thermostable enzyme native Bgl3 (nBgl3) was purified from a lignocellulose-decomposing fungus, A. fumigatus Z5, and the nBgl3-encoding gene was cloned by employing degenerate PCR and High-efficiency thermal asymmetric interlaced PCR (hiTAIL-PCR). Recombinant Bgl3 (rBgl3) was expressed in P. pastoris X33 and purified with Ni-NTA Sepharose. The properties of these two enzymes, including substrate specificity and amino acid sequence, indicate that nBgl3 and rBgl3 are β-glucosidases, members of the glycoside hydrolase family 3 (GH3) category of enzymes.
Purification and identification of β-glucosidase secreted by A. fumigatus Z5
Summary of purification of β-glucosidase secreted by A. fumigatus Z5
Total protein (mg)
Total activity (U)
Specific activity (U mg-1)
Ammonium sulphate precipitation
Q-sepharose FF (ion exchange)
Sephadex G-100 (gel filtration)
The internal amino acid sequence of the purified nBgl3 was obtained by liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The MS data analysis was performed by searching related sequences in the NCBI non-redundant (NCBI nr) databases, and two protein hits were obtained. The first hit was a putative β-glucosidase from A. fumigatus Af293 (gi|70990956) with a mass of 95093 Da, and 4 peptides were matched to this protein: IPPNFSSWTR, HYILNEQEHFR, DLANWDVEAQDWVITK, and DEYGWEHSAVSEGAWTK. The second hit was the hypothetical protein AN4102.2 from Aspergillus nidulans FGSC A4 (gi|67527650), with a mass of 89450 Da; one peptide was matched to this protein: HYLLNEQEHFR.
Cloning and sequence analysis of the β-glucosidase gene, bgl 3
Primers used in the process of hiTAIL-PCR
AD and reactions
Arbitrary degenerate primer
The upstream hiTAIL-PCR
ACGATGGACTCCAG TC CGTGATGTTGTAACCATATC
The downstream hiTAIL-PCR
ACGATGGACTCCAG TC TCGTATCATGACCGCGTAC
ACGATGGACTCCAG TC CGATTGTGGTTATTCACAGTG
ACGATGGACTCCAG TC CTACGGCTGGGAGGACTCG
Expression of the bgl 3 gene in yeast and purification of the recombinant enzyme
SDS-PAGE, native PAGE and western blot analysis of the recombinant protein
The Western blot results indicated that the purified Myc-tagged proteins were transferred onto the NC membrane successfully, and the purified Myc-tagged antibody migrated at approximately 130 kDa, corresponding to the monomeric form of the Myc-tagged rBgl3 fusion protein (Figure 4C). Moreover, SDS-PAGE analyses, zymograms and western blot analyses revealed that the protein purified from the liquid medium of P. pastoris transformed with pPICZαA/bgl3 was the expected rBgl3.
Effects of pH and temperature on the activity and stability of purified nBgl3 and rBgl3
Effects of metal ions and reagents on the activities of purified nBgl3 and rBgl3
Effects of various metal ions, chemical agents and chelating agent on the activities of two purified β-glucosidases.
Relative activity (%)
metal ions(1 mM)
130.5 ± 7.4a
121.4 ± 3.3
102.1 ± 3.8
96.5 ± 7.2
115.2 ± 1.7
107.5 ± 3.8
51.4 ± 3.1
55.6 ± 2.5
98.3 ± 2.7
94.1 ± 8.6
105.6 ± 7.6
101.8 ± 4.9
93.7 ± 3.3
93.3 ± 8.5
65.8 ± 1.5
67.1 ± 3.7
137.1 ± 5.1
133.9 ± 8.2
94.6 ± 4.7
91.5 ± 7.6
75.9 ± 6.0
73.7 ± 5.1
102.6 ± 7.1
96.2 ± 4.7
115.2 ± 2.8
105.8 ± 6.1
37.5 ± 2.1
35.0 ± 1.6
SDS (2 mg ml-1)
95.0 ± 2.4
93.2 ± 1.5
Triton X-100 (20 mg ml-1)
103.2 ± 5.8
109.7 ± 2.7
Chelating agent (10 mM)
90.1 ± 1.3
95.72 ± 7.3
Substrate specificity and kinetic parameters of purified nBgl3 and rBgl3
Hydrolytic specific activities of two purified β-glucosidases (nBgl3 and rBgl3) on various substrates.
Specific activity (U mg-1)
Relative activityb (%)
Linkage of glycosyl group
4-Nitrophenyl-β-D-glucopyranoside (1 mM)
103.5 ± 7.1a
101.7 ± 5.2
4-Nitrophenyl-α-D-glucopyranoside (1 mM)
Cellobiose (5 mM)
64.1 ± 3.8
59.4 ± 2.1
β (1,4) Glc
Cellotriose (5 mM)
41.4 ± 3.2
39.3 ± 1.2
β (1,4) Glc
Cellotetraose (5 mM)
35.5 ± 1.6
32.7 ± 2.3
β (1,4) Glc
Cellopentaose (5 mM)
29.5 ± 2.0
23.7 ± 1.3
β (1,4) Glc
Carboxymethyl cellulose (1%, w/v)
β (1,4) Glc
Lactose (1%, w/v)
α (1,4) Glc
Xylan (1%, w/v)
β (1,4) Xyl
Lichenan (1%, w/v)
13.2 ± 0.1
9.7 ± 0.2
β (1,3-1,4) Glc
Laminarin (1%, w/v)
18.4 ± 1.3
17.5 ± 0.6
β (1,3) Glc
Gentiobiose (1%, w/v)
34.3 ± 2.4
29.4 ± 1.6
β (1,6) Glc
Salicin (1%, w/v)
38.1 ± 1.5
31.8 ± 2.7
Avicel (1%, w/v)
2.1 ± 0.1
1.7 ± 0.08
β (1,4) Glc
Kinetic parameters of two purified β-glucosidases
Vmax (μmol min-1 mg-1)
Kcat/Km (s-1 mM-1)
141.60 ± 2.61
1.73 ± 0.19
131.40 ± 2.21
1.76 ± 0.18
52.37 ± 0.87
1.75 ± 0.17
52.89 ± 1.12
2.20 ± 0.26
In this study, a β-glucosidase (nBgl3) from A. fumigatus Z5 was purified to homogeneity. The purification protocol that we followed involved four steps: ammonium sulfate precipitation, cation exchange, gel filtration, and affinity chromatography. In the affinity chromatography step, microcrystalline cellulose was used as a column agent to purify nBgl3, and a high purification fold was obtained after this step. A common problem during the β-glucosidase purification process is that it usually requires complicated steps with a combination of various chromatographic columns . Kim et al.,  studied the adsorption kinetics and behaviors of cellulase components on microcrystalline cellulose, and their results indicated that microcrystalline cellulose had a high affinity for different cellulolytic glucosidases. Thus, microcrystalline cellulose chromatography is a suitable method for β-glucosidase purification and could greatly simplify and reduce the cost of the purification process.
Based on the internal amino acid sequence of nBgl3, the encoding gene bgl 3 was cloned by hiTAIL-PCR. The bgl3 gene of A. fumigatus Z5 is not a novel gene because it is similar to some sequences submitted to GenBank. We thoroughly searched the databases and did not find any information about cloning, expression, or characterization of this gene from Aspergillus fumigatus. Thus, this study is the first report on the purification, expression and characterization of this enzyme in Aspergillus fumigatus. Glycosidases have been classified into several families based on amino acid sequence similarities, and most known BGLs belong to either family 1 or family 3. An NCBI BLAST search of the deduced amino acid sequence of bgl 3 indicated that the nBgl3 from A. fumigatus Z5 belongs to the GH3 family. Most cellulases generally contain two or more discrete domains: a catalytic domain and a highly conserved cellulose-binding domain, with an often-glycosylated hinge connecting these two domains . The highest sequence identity was obtained when compared with other related enzymes (Figure 2), and a conserved catalytic domain sequence (ELGFQGFVMSD WSA) was found in most of the enzymes. P. purpurogenum BGL, which was purified by Jeya et al. , contained a conserved GFVMTD sequence. These residues were identified as part of the catalytic domain of GH3 family proteins; the aspartic acid residue has been shown to be highly conserved and confirmed to be the active-site residue of BGLs in GH3 enzymes .
Several GH3 β-glucosidases have been purified from fungi or successfully expressed in yeast [25–27]. However, except for studies by Jeya et al.  and Hong et al. , few reports about the purification of β-glucosidase from thermophilic fungi and the functional expression of a thermostable β-glucosidase gene in yeast have been published. Thermostability is an important property of β-glucosidase during enzymatic hydrolysis, which converts cellobiose to reducing sugars. Steam is usually applied to make the biomass more easily degraded, especially during the saccharification step. A thermostable β-glucosidase, combined with other thermostable enzymes, could be used directly after the heating step without a pre-cooling process, thereby decreasing the processing time, saving energy, reducing the risk of contamination, and improving fermentation yields and qualities . Both nBgl3 and rBgl3 are thermostable β-glucosidases; nBgl3 retained more than 40% of its peak activity, and rBgl3 retained more than 50% of its peak activity at 70°C for one hour. Thus, both of two β-glucosidases could be used in various fields, such as bioenergy production and food processing. The demand for thermostable β-glucosidase is rapidly increasing and has become the driving force for studies on a wide range of sources. However, the low yield of β-glucosidase and the high viscosity of the induction media have limited the scale-up for the production of this enzyme at an industrial scale . The rapid developments of molecular biology make it possible to express active enzymes in yeast for large-scale production . Protein production in yeast has the advantages of ease of handling, rapid growth, and highly efficient transformation Hong et al. .
β-glucosidases are divided into three types based on substrate specificity: aryl-β-glucosidases that have strong affinities for aryl-β-glucosides, cellobiases that hydrolyze only oligosaccharides, and broad-specificity β-glucosidases that exhibit activity toward many substrate types . In our study, various substrates belonging to different glycosyl groups were used to detect the specific activities of purified nBgl3 and rBgl3. Our results indicated that both β-glucosidases were broad-specificity types, as both can hydrolyze a range of (1,3)-, (1,4)-, and (1,6)-β-diglycosides. β-glucosidases with very broad specificity have been purified from different sources, especially from fungi [9, 12, 18, 26]. However, except for Sulfolobus shibatae, few strains can secrete β-glucosidases that can hydrolyze both β- and α-glucosides. Neither of the β-glucosidases that we purified exhibited activity toward 4-Nitrophenyl-α-D-glucopyranoside or lactose, both of which belong to the glycosyl group of α-glycosides. However, both purified enzymes exhibited activity toward cellooligosaccharides in a similar manner in which catalytic efficiency decreased as the number of glucose units increased as HGT-BG , indicating that these enzymes possess some exoglucanase activities.
Various metal ions and other agents modified the activity of the purified enzyme, and the effects on the purified enzymes must be investigated in detail because many catalytic processes require their addition. In our study, Fe3+, Li+, Co2+, Cu2+, Mn2+, Cr3+, and Hg2+ inhibited the enzyme activities of nBgl3 and rBgl3. Fe3+, Cu2+ and Hg2+ also inhibit HGT-BG  and BglA , suggesting that the active catalytic sites of these enzymes might posses thiol groups that cause sensitivity to inhibition by Hg2+.
This report is the first on the purification, expression and characterization of this enzyme from A. fumigatus. In this study, an extracellular enzyme nBgl3 was purified to electrophoretic homogeneity from the crude extract of A. fumigatus Z5. The gene bgl 3 was cloned based on the internal sequences of nBgl3 obtained from the LC-MS/MS results. Sequence analysis indicated that nBgl3 is a member of the GH3 family of enzymes. Several biochemical properties of purified nBgl3 and rBgl3 were analyzed, including specific activity, pH stability, thermostability, and kinetic properties (Km and Vmax).
A. fumigatus Z5 was isolated and identified as previously reported . Potato glucose agar (PDA) was used for the cultivation of A. fumigatus Z5; the liquid medium used for cellulase production was composed of the following: 10 g pure ball-milled cellulose powder (Sigma, USA), 1 g KH2PO4, 0.5 g urea, 0.5 g (NH4)2SO4, 0.5 g MgSO4·7H20, 7.5 mg FeSO4·7H20, 2.5 mg MnSO4·H2O, 3.6 mg ZnSO4·7H2O, 3.7 mg CoC12·6H2O, and 0.5 g CaC12 in 1000 ml of water. The culture was incubated at 50°C for an appropriate period.
P. pastoris X33 (Invitrogen) was used to express the bgl3 gene, and Escherichia coli Top10 (stored in our lab) was used for plasmid construction. YPD medium (1% yeast extract, 2% peptone, and 2% glucose, pH 6.0) was prepared according to the Pichia expression system manual from Invitrogen and was used to propagate the rBgl3 recombinant protein. YPM medium (1% yeast extract, 2% peptone, and 1% methanol, pH 6.0) was used as the induction medium.
Purification of nBgl3 secreted by A. fumigatus Z5
β-glucosidase was purified according to methods used by Yan et al.,  and Daroit et al., , with some modifications. After the incubation period, the culture was filtered and centrifuged (12,000 rpm for 10 min). The supernatant was utilized as crude enzyme for the purification process. Protein extraction was performed by ammonium sulfate precipitation according to Liu et al. .
The crude enzyme was loaded onto a Q-sepharose FF (Amersham Biosciences) column (1.6 × 10 cm) that had been previously equilibrated with sodium phosphate buffer (10 mM, pH 6.0). After the columns were washed with four column volumes of the same buffer, a linear gradient elution of 0 to 0.3 M sodium chloride was performed, and the fractions with β-glucosidase activity were pooled, completely dialyzed against 10 mM sodium acetate buffer (pH 5.0), and freeze-dried to an appropriate volume. The proteins were loaded onto a Sephadex G-100 gel filtration column (1.6 × 60 cm) (Amersham Biosciences) and flowed at a rate of 25 ml h-1. The proteins were eluted off the column with sodium phosphate buffer (20 mM, pH 6.0), and 80 fractions of 1 ml were collected. For each fraction, β-glucosidase activity was assessed, and absorbance at 280 nm was used to monitor the protein content in the column fractions. The fractions with enzyme activity were pooled, freeze-dried, and re-dissolved in an appropriate volume of sodium acetate buffer.
The microcrystalline cellulose (MC) column was prepared as follows: the MC powders were suspended in 10 mM sodium acetate buffer (pH 5.0) containing 0.8 M sodium chloride, stirred on a magnetic stirrer for 2 h, and then packed into a glass column. The column (2.5 × 18 cm) was washed with 4 column volumes of the same buffer and then equilibrated with 10 mM sodium acetate buffer (pH 5.0). The fractions containing active enzyme were applied to an MC column and washed stepwise with 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, and 0.5 M sodium chloride in 10 mM sodium acetate buffer (pH 5.0), and the fractions with β-glucosidase activity were collected.
Internal amino acid sequence of nBgl3 by LC-MS/MS
The purified β-glucosidase was analyzed by LC-MS/MS for internal amino acid sequences according to Shevchenko et al., . To identify the protein sequence, a homology search method was employed using the MS data analysis program MASCOT http://www.matrixscience.com/, a powerful search engine that uses mass spectrometry data to identify proteins from primary sequence databases. The partial amino acid sequence was used to identify analogous proteins through a BLAST search of the nonredundant protein database.
Isolation of genomic DNA and mRNA, and synthesis of cDNA
Genomic DNA of A. fumigatus Z5 was extracted as described by Moller et al. . After induction by cellulose for approximately 4 days, the mycelium was collected for the mRNA extraction. The mRNA isolation was performed using the E.Z.N.A.™ Fungal RNA Kit (Omega Bio-tek, Inc. R6840-01). cDNA synthesis and reverse transcriptase (RT) reactions were performed on the mRNA using the RevertAid™ First Strand cDNA synthesis kit (Fermentas, #K1621).
Cloning of the β-glucosidase gene, bgl 3
The degenerate primers BglF (CATTACWTHCTNAATGAACAGGAGC) and BglR (CACHTTGGTCCAKGCTNCCT) were designed based on the partial peptide sequences (HYILNEQEHFR and HSAVSEGAWTKV) obtained from the LC-MS/MS sequencing. The PCR was performed using the following mix: 2.5 μL 10 × PCR buffer, 2.5 μL Mg2 ±, 2 μL of 10 mM dNTPs, 10 pmol/μL of each primer, and 0.5 U of Taq DNA polymerase in a total volume of 25 μL (Takara, Dalian, China). The amplification was performed using a thermal cycler (Bio-Rad S1000, USA) with the following cycling parameters: an initial denaturation step at 95°C for 5 min, 30 cycles of amplification (denaturation at 94°C for 30 s, annealing at 50-58°C for 30 s, extension at 72°C for 30 s), and a final elongation step at 72°C for 10 min. For analysis, 2 μL of the reaction mixture was electrophoresed on a 1% agarose gel and stained with an ethidium bromide solution (5 μg ml-1).
After DNA sequencing, a partial DNA sequence was identified. To obtain the 5'-end and 3'-end of the β-glucosidase fragments, hiTAIL-PCR was applied according to Liu et al. . The primers used in the hiTAIL-PCR are shown in Table 1, and genomic DNA was used as the template. The PCR product was purified and cloned into the PMD19-T vector (TaKaRa, Dalian, China), and its nucleotide sequence was subsequently determined. By aligning the sequences of the 5'-end and 3'-end PCR products, the full-length cDNA sequences of β-glucosidase were deduced and obtained through RT-PCR using the following specific primers: bgl3-5' (ATGAGATTCGGTTGGCTCGAGGTGG) and bgl3-3' (CTAGTAGACACGGGGCAGAGGCGCT). The full-length products were purified, ligated into the pMD®19-T Vector (Takara, Dalian, China), and transformed into competent E. coli Top10 cells. The full-length bgl3 gene was confirmed by sequencing, and the recombinant plasmid was designated as PMD - bgl3.
Construction of the expression plasmid
The open reading frame (ORF) of the bgl 3 gene, excluding the native signal sequence (amino acids 1-29), was amplified by PCR using the primers bgl3E-5' (ATAAGAAT GCGGCCGC CAGGAATTGGCTTTCTCTCCAC) and bgl3E-3' (GC TCTAGA TAGTAGACACGGGGCAGAGG). The recombinant plasmid PMD-bgl3 was used as template. Not I and Xba I sites were introduced into the bgl3E-5' and bgl3E-3' primers, respectively (underlined). After double digestion with Not I and Xba I, the PCR product was inserted into the vector pPICZαA (Invitrogen, USA). Proper construction was confirmed by restriction digestion and DNA sequencing. This construct was designated as pPICZαA/bgl3.
The recombinant plasmid pPICZαA-bgl3 was linearized with Sac I (TaKaRa, Dalian, China) before introduction into P. pastoris X33 by electroporation (Gene Pulser Xcell™ Electroporation System #165-2660, Bio-Rad, USA). The cells were pulsed using the following parameters: 1.5 kV, 200 μF, and 200Ω. The transformants were screened by selection on YPDS (1% yeast extract, 2% peptone, 2% dextrose, 1 M sorbitol, 2% agar) plates containing Zeocin™ at a final concentration of 1000 μg mL-1 (Zeo1000 plates) according to Chen et al. . P. pastoris X-33 transformed with the vector pPICZαA was used as a control.
Expression and purification of rBgl3 from Pichia pastoris X33
Colonies from the Zeo1000 plates were inoculated onto a YPM plate to induce the expression of the β-glucosidase gene, as was previously described by Hong et al. , with some modifications. The transformants were cultivated on YPM solid medium for 2 days, and then the plates were overlaid with 0.8% agar containing 5 mM MUG (β-4-methylumbelliferyl-β-D-glucose). Detection of β-glucosidase activity was performed by exposing the plate to UV light (365 nm) to detect luminescence after incubation for 10 min at 50°C.
Transformants with the strongest β-glucosidase activity on the YPM plate were cultured at 30°C for 96 h in 100 ml of YPM liquid medium after a 24 h preculture in 200 ml of YPD medium. The supernatant was then recovered by centrifugation and subjected to precipitation at 80% ammonium sulfate saturation. After dialysis against 50 mM sodium phosphate buffer (pH 6.8), the protein was collected and stored at -20°C. The expressed His6-tagged proteins were purified with Ni-NTA Sepharose (QIAGEN) according to Kabir et al. .
SDS-PAGE, native PAGE and Western blot analysis of rBgl3
SDS-PAGE was performed with a 10% (w/v) polyacrylamide gel in accordance to the method described by Laemmli . The crude enzyme samples mixed with the same volume of loading buffer were boiled at 100°C for 4 min and then subjected to SDS-PAGE. The gel was stained with Coomassie Brilliant Blue R-250 and destained with destaining solution (2.5% methanol, 10% acetic acid) by shaking at 100 rpm min-1 for 1-2 h.
Detection the in-gel β-glucacosidase activity was performed by native PAGE using 10% and 5% polyacrylamide as the separation and stacking gels, respectively . Electrophoresis was run at a constant current of 20 mA per slab at 4°C for 3 h, and Tris-glycine buffer (pH 8.3) was used as the electrode buffer. After electrophoresis, the gels were washed with distilled water and then overlaid with 0.5 mM 4-methylumbelliferyl β-D-glucopyranoside (Sigma, USA) in 0.1 M succinate buffer (pH 5.8); the presence of a fluorescent reaction product was visualized under UV light (365 nm) after incubating the gels at 50°C for 5 min.
The purified protein was separated on 12% polyacrylamide gels and was used for Western blotting. For Western blotting, SDS-PAGE-separated proteins were blotted onto a NC membrane with ECL Semi-dry Blotters (TE 70 PWR semi-dry transfer unit, Amersham) according to the manufacturer's specifications. After the membranes were blocked with blotting buffer (25 mM Tris, 192 mM glycine, 15% v/v methanol, pH 8.3, 1 L), the separated proteins were detected with an anti-Myc mouse antibody (Beyotime, China) and an anti-mouse IgG (H + L)-AP conjugate goat antibody (Beyotime, China). The BCIP/NBT Alkaline Phosphatase Color Development Kit (Beyotime, China) was used for detecting alkaline phosphatase. A broad-range protein marker (Fermentas, China) was used as a molecular weight marker.
Enzyme assay and protein determination
β-glucosidase activity was determined by a microtitre plate method that measures the hydrolysis of p-nitrophenyl-β-D-glucopyranoside (pNPG) (Sigma, USA), as described by Parry et al. , with some modifications. A 25 μl portion of the culture filtrate or 25 μl of appropriately diluted purified enzyme was mixed with 25 μl of 200 mM sodium acetate buffer (pH 5.0) and 25 μl of distilled water and pre-incubated at 50°C for 5 min. The reaction was initiated by adding 25 μl of 10 mM pNPG; after incubation at 50°C for 10 min, the reaction was terminated by adding 100 μl of ice-cold 0.25 M Na2CO3. The developed color was read at 405 nm by Multi-Detection Microplate Readers (Spectra max M5, Molecular Devices) and translated to μmol of p-nitrophenol (pNP) using a standard graph prepared under the same conditions. One unit of β-glucosidase activity is expressed as the amount of enzyme required to release 1 μmol of pNP per minute under the above assay conditions. The activity was also examined with other substrates by measuring the amount of reducing glucose, according to Lin et al. . β-Glucosidase activity on polysaccharides was determined at 50°C for 10 min and by measuring the reducing sugars according to the dinitrosalicylic acid (DNS) method . Determination of the total protein in the supernatant was performed according to methods used by Branford , and bovine serum albumin (BSA) was used as a standard. Specific activity was expressed as units per milligram of protein.
Characterization of nBgl3 and rBgl3
The pH profiles of nBgl3 and rBgl3 were constructed by determining activity toward pNPG at 50°C, as described above, in one of the following buffers: 50 mM citrate buffer (pH 3.0-6.0), 50 mM sodium phosphate (pH 6.0-8.0), 50 mM Tris-HCl (pH 8.0-9.0) and 50 mM glycine-NaOH (pH 9.0-11.0),. The effect of temperature on β-glucosidase activity was analyzed by measuring the enzyme activity, as described above, at various temperatures (20 to 90°C) in the 50 mM citrate buffer (pH 5.0).
The pH stabilities of nBgl3 and rBgl3 were assessed by incubating 100 μL of the purified nBgl3 or rBgl3 at 4°C for 24 h in 0.5 ml of various buffers adjusted to different pH values, followed by checking the remaining activity as described above. The buffers used were as follows: 0.1 M Gly-HCl Buffer (pH 2), 0.1 M Citric-NaOH (pH 3-5), 0.1 M sodium phosphate (pH 6-8) and 0.1 M Gly-NaOH (pH 9-11). The thermostability of the purified nBgl3 and rBgl3 was investigated by incubating the enzyme solutions in 50 mM sodium acetate buffer (pH 5.0) for 1 h, with temperatures ranging from 20 to 90°C. Subsequently, the remaining β-glucosidase activity of each treatment group was measured as described above by incubating the sample with 10 mM pNPG solution at 50°C for 20 min.
The inhibitory effect of various metal ions and EDTA on the activities nBgl3 and rBgl3 was determined according to Ding et al. , with some modifications. pNPG was used as a substrate in reaction mixtures containing 1 ml of 0.1 M sodium acetate buffer (pH 5.0), 0.5 ml 10 mM pNPG solution, 10 μl of purified enzymes and 1 mM inhibitor for 24 h at 4°C, and the remaining β-glucosidase activity was assessed as described above.
Determination of kinetic parameters
Determination of the kinetic parameters (Vmax and Km) of hydrolysis of pNPG and cellobiose by the purified enzymes were determined at pH 5.0 and 50°C, and the values for Km and Vmax were estimated by applying a nonlinear curve fit using GraphPad Prism v5.01 from GraphPad Software (San Diego, CA). Catalytic constants (kcat) and catalytic efficiency ratios (Kcat/Km) were determined from the obtained kinetic parameter values.
The nucleotide sequence of bgl 3 was deposited into GeneBank under accession number HQ836475.
This research was financially supported by China Science and Technology Ministry (973 Program, 2011CB100503), Priorty Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions and the "Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities" provided to RZ (KYZ201003).
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