Astaxanthin, a carotenoid pigment found in several aquatic organisms, is responsible for the red colour of salmon, trout and crustaceans. In this study, astaxanthin production from freshwater microalga Chlorella sorokiniana and marine microalga Tetraselmis sp. was investigated. Cell growth and astaxanthin production were determined spectrophotometrically at 620 and 480 nm, respectively. Astaxanthin was extracted using acetone and measured subsequent to biomass removal. Aerated conditions favoured astaxanthin production in C. sorokiniana, whereas Tetraselmis sp. was best cultured under unaerated conditions. C. sorokiniana produced more astaxanthin with the highest yield reached at 7.83 mg/l in 6.0 mM in nitrate containing medium compared to Tetraselmis sp. which recorded the highest yield of only 1.96 mg/l in 1.5 mM nitrate containing medium. Production in C. sorokiniana started at the early exponential phase, indicating that astaxanthin may be a growth-associated product in this microalga. Further optimization of astaxanthin production was performed using C. sorokiniana through a 2(3) full factorial experimental design, and a yield of 8.39 mg/l was achieved. Overall, the study has shown that both microalgae are capable of producing astaxanthin. Additionally, this research has highlighted C. sorokiniana as a potential astaxanthin producer that could serve as a natural astaxanthin source in the current market.
Halogenated compounds are recalcitrant environmental pollutants prevalent in agricultural fields, waste waters and industrial by-products, but they can be degraded by dehalogenase-containing microbes. Notably, 2-haloalkanoic acid dehalogenases are employed to resolve optically active chloropropionates, as exemplified by the d-specific dehalogenase from Rhizobium sp. RCI (DehD), which acts on d-2-chloropropionate but not on its l-enantiomer. The catalytic residues of this dehalogenase responsible for its affinity toward d-2-chloropropionate have not been experimentally determined, although its three-dimensional crystal structure has been solved. For this study, we performed in silico docking and molecular dynamic simulations of complexes formed by this dehalogenase and d- or l-2-chloropropionate. Arg134 of the enzyme plays the key role in the stereospecific binding and Arg16 is in a position that would allow it to activate a water molecule for hydrolytic attack on the d-2-chloropropionate chiral carbon for release of the halide ion to yield l-2-hydroxypropionate. We propose that within the DehD active site, the NH group of Arg134 can form a hydrogen bond with the carboxylate of d-2-chloropropionate with a strength of ∼4 kcal/mol that may act as an acid-base catalyst, whereas, when l-2-chloropropionate is present, this bond cannot be formed. The significance of the present work is vital for rational design of this dehalogenase in order to confirm the involvement of Arg16 and Arg134 residues implicated in hydrolysis and binding of d-2-chloropropionate in the active site of d-specific dehalogenase from Rhizobium sp. RC1.
Currently, there is no three-dimensional structure of D-specific dehalogenase (DehD) in the protein database. We modeled DehD using ab initio technique, performed molecular dynamics (MD) simulation and docking of D-2-chloropropionate (D-2CP), D-2-bromopropionate (D-2BP), monochloroacetate (MCA), monobromoacetate (MBA), 2,2-dichloropropionate (2,2-DCP), d,l-2,3-dichloropropionate (d,l-2,3-DCP), and 3-chloropropionate (3-CP) into the DehD active site. The sequences of DehD and D-2-haloacid dehalogenase (HadD) from Pseudomonas putida AJ1 have 15% sequence similarity. The model had 80% of the amino acid residues in the most favored region when compared to the crystal structure of DehI from Pseudomonas putida PP3. Docking analysis revealed that Arg107, Arg134 and Tyr135 interacted with D-2CP, and Glu20 activated the water molecule for hydrolytic dehalogenation. Single residue substitutions at 25-30 °C showed that polar residues of DehD were stable when substituted with nonpolar residues and showed a decrease in activity within the same temperature range. The molecular dynamics simulation of DehD and its variants showed that in R134A variant, Arg107 interacted with D-2CP, while in Y135A, Gln221 and Arg231 interacted with D-2CP. It is our emphatic belief that the new model will be useful for the rational design of DehDs with enhanced potentials.
The D-2-haloacid dehalogenase of D-specific dehalogenase (DehD) from Rhizobium sp. RC1 catalyses the hydrolytic dehalogenation of D-haloalkanoic acids, inverting the substrate-product configuration and thereby forming the corresponding L-hydroxyalkanoic acids. Our investigations were focused on DehD mutants: R134A and Y135A. We examined the possible interactions between these mutants with haloalkanoic acids and characterized the key catalytic residues in the wild-type dehalogenase, to design dehalogenase enzyme(s) with improved potential for dehalogenation of a wider range of substrates. Three natural substrates of wild-type DehD, specifically, monochloroacetate, monobromoacetate and D,L-2,3-dichloropropionate, and eight other non-natural haloalkanoic acids substrates of DehD, namely, L-2-chloropropionate; L-2-bromopropionate; 2,2-dichloropropionate; dichloroacetate; dibromoacetate; trichloroacetate; tribromoacetate; and 3-chloropropionate, were docked into the active site of the DehD mutants R134A and Y135A, which produced altered catalytic functions. The mutants interacted strongly with substrates that wild-type DehD does not interact with or degrade. The interaction was particularly enhanced with 3-chloropropionate, in addition to monobromoacetate, monochloroacetate and D,L-2,3-dichloropropionate. In summary, DehD variants R134A and Y135A demonstrated increased propensity for binding haloalkanoic acid and were non-stereospecific towards halogenated substrates. The improved characteristics in these mutants suggest that their functionality could be further exploited and harnessed in bioremediations and biotechnological applications.
Acinetobacter baumannii is a ubiquitous bacteria that is increasingly becoming a formidable nosocomial pathogen. Due to its clinical relevance, studies on the bacteria's secretory molecules especially extracellular proteases are of interest primarily in relation to the enzyme's role in virulence. Besides, favorable properties that extracellular proteases possess may be exploited for commercial use thus there is a need to investigate extracellular proteases from Acinetobacter baumannii to gain insights into their catalytic properties. In this study, an extracellular subtilisin-like serine protease from Acinetobacter baumannii designated as SPSFQ that was isolated from fermented food was recombinantly expressed and characterized. The mature catalytically active form of SPSFQ shared a high percentage sequence identity of 99% to extracellular proteases from clinical isolates of Acinetobacter baumannii and Klebsiella pneumoniae as well as a moderately high percentage identity to other bacterial proteases with known keratinolytic and collagenolytic activity. The homology model of mature SPSFQ revealed its structure is composed of 10 β-strands, 8 α-helices, and connecting loops resembling a typical architecture of subtilisin-like α/β motif. SPSFQ is catalytically active at an optimum temperature of 40 °C and pH 9. Its activity is stimulated in the presence of Ca2+ and severely inhibited in the presence of PMSF. SPSFQ also displayed the ability to degrade several tissue-associated protein substrates such as keratin, collagen, and fibrin. Accordingly, our study shed light on the catalytic properties of a previously uncharacterized extracellular serine protease from Acinetobacter baumannii that warrants further investigations into its potential role as a virulence factor in pathogenicity and commercial applications.
Natural astaxanthin is known to be produced by green microalgae, a potent producer of the most powerful antioxidant. To increase the productivity of astaxanthin in microalgae, random mutagenesis has been extensively used to improve the yield of valuable substances. In the presented work, a newly isolated Coelastrum sp. was randomly mutagenized by exposure to ethyl methane sulfonate and further screened using two approaches; an approach for high growth mutant and an approach for high astaxanthin producing mutant with a high-throughput screening method using glufosinate. Among these, mutant G1-C1 that was selected using glufosinate showed the highest of total carotenoids (45.48±1.5 mg/L) and astaxanthin (28.32±2.5 mg/L) production, which was almost 2-fold higher than that of wild type. This study indicates that random mutagenesis via chemical mutation strategy and screening using glufosinate successfully expedited astaxanthin production in a mutated strain of a Coelastrum sp.
A halophilic bacterium, Virgibacillus sp. strain CD6, was isolated from salted fish and its extracellular protease was characterized. Protease production was found to be highest when yeast extract was used as nitrogen source for growth. The protease exhibited stability at wide range of salt concentration (0-12.5%, w/v), temperatures (20-60 °C), and pH (4-10) with maximum activity at 10.0% (w/v) NaCl, 60 °C, pH 7 and 10, indicating its polyextremophilicity. The protease activity was enhanced in the presence of Mg2+, Mn2+, Cd2+, and Al3+ (107-122% relative activity), and with retention of activity > 80% for all of other metal ions examined (K+, Ca2+, Cu2+, Co2+, Ni2+, Zn2+, and Fe3+). Both PMSF and EDTA inhibited protease activity, denoting serine protease and metalloprotease properties, respectively. High stability (> 70%) was demonstrated in the presence of organic solvents and detergent constituents, and the extracellular protease from strain CD6 was also found to be compatible in commercial detergents. Proteinaceous stain removal efficacy revealed that crude protease of strain CD6 could significantly enhance the performance of commercial detergent. The protease from Virgibacillus sp. strain CD6 could serve as a promising alternative for various applications, especially in detergent industry.
The Johor Strait has experienced rapid development of various human activities and served as the main marine aquaculture area for the two countries that bordered the strait. Several fish kill incidents in 2014 and 2015 have been confirmed, attributed to the algal blooms of ichthyotoxic dinoflagellates; however, the cause of fish kill events after 2016 was not clarified and the causative organisms remained unknown. To clarify the potential cause of fish kills along the Johor Strait, a 1-year field investigation was conducted with monthly sampling between May 2018 and April 2019. Monthly vertical profiles of physical water parameters (temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen levels) were measured in situ at different depths (subsurface, 1 m, 5 m, and 8 m) depending on the ambient depth of the water column at the sampling stations. The spatial-temporal variability of macronutrients and chlorophyll a content was analyzed. Our results showed that high chlorophyll a concentration (up to 48.8 μg/L) and high biomass blooms of Skeletonema, Chaetoceros, Rhizosolenia, and Thalassiosira were observed seasonally at the inner part of the strait. A hypoxic to anoxic dead zone, with the dissolved oxygen levels ranging from 0.19 to 1.7 mg/L, was identified in the inner Johor Strait, covering an estimated area of 10.3 km2. The occurrence of high biomass diatom blooms and formation of the hypoxic-anoxic zone along the inner part Johor Strait were likely the culprits of some fish kill incidents after 2016.