Probing structural elements of thermal stability in bacterial oligomeric alcohol dehydrogenases. I. construction and characterization of chimeras consisting of secondary ADHs from Thermoanaerobacter brockii and Clostridium beijerinckii

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Two tetrameric secondary alcohol dehydrogenases (ADHs), one from the mesophile Clostridium beijerinckii (CBADH) and the other from the extreme thermophile Thermoanaerobacter brockii (TBADH), share 75% sequence identity but differ by 26 °C in thermal stability. To explore the role of linear segments of these similar enzymes in maintaining the thermal stability of the thermostable TBADH, a series of 12 CBadh and TBadh chimeric genes and the two parental wild-type genes were expressed in Escherichia coli, and the enzymes were isolated, purified and characterized. The thermal stability of each chimeric enzyme was approximately exponentially proportional to the content of the amino acid sequence of the thermophilic enzyme, indicating that the amino acid residues contributing to the thermal stability of TBADH are distributed along the whole protein molecule. It is suggested that major structural elements of thermal stability may reside among the nine discrepant amino acid residues between the N-terminal 50-amino acid residues of TBADH and CBADH.

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