1 Department of Chemistry, Technical University of Denmark2 Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark3 Center for BioProcess Engineering, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark4 Physical and Biophysical Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Technical University of Denmark
The limitations of fungal laccases at higher pH and salt concentrations have intensified the search for new extremophilic bacterial laccases. We report the cloning, expression, and characterization of the bacterial cotA from Bacillus clausii, a supposed alkalophilic ortholog of cotA from B. subtilis. Both laccases were expressed in E. coli strain BL21(DE3) and characterized fully in parallel for strict benchmarking. We report activity on ABTS, SGZ, DMP, caffeic acid, promazine, phenyl hydrazine, tannic acid, and bilirubin at variable pH. Whereas ABTS, promazine, and phenyl hydrazine activities vs. pH were similar, the activity of B. clausii cotA was shifted upwards by ,0.5–2 pH units for the simple phenolic substrates DMP, SGZ, and caffeic acid. This shift is not due to substrate affinity (KM) but to pH dependence of catalytic turnover: The kcat of B. clausii cotA was 1 s21 at pH 6 and 5 s21 at pH 8 in contrast to 6 s21 at pH 6 and 2 s21 at pH 8 for of B. subtilis cotA. Overall, kcat/KM was 10-fold higher for B. subtilis cotA at pHopt. While both proteins were heat activated, activation increased with pH and was larger in cotA from B. clausii. NaCl inhibited activity at acidic pH, but not up to 500–700 mM NaCl in alkaline pH, a further advantage of the alkali regime in laccase applications. The B. clausii cotA had ,20 minutes half-life at 80uC, less than the ,50 minutes at 80uC for cotA from B. subtilis. While cotA from B. subtilis had optimal stability at pH,8, the cotA from B. clausii displayed higher combined salt- and alkali-resistance. This resistance is possibly caused by two substitutions (S427Q and V110E) that could repel anions to reduce anion-copper interactions at the expense of catalytic proficiency, a trade-off of potential relevance to laccase optimization.