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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Chromohalobacter salixigens uronate dehydrogenase: Directed evolution for improved thermal stability and mutant CsUDH-inc X-ray crystal structure


Chromohalobacter salixigens contains a uronate dehydrogenase termed CsUDH that can convert uronic acids to their corresponding C1,C6-dicarboxy aldaric acids, an important enzyme reaction applicable for biotechnological use of sugar acids. To increase the thermal stability of this enzyme for biotechnological processes, directed evolution using gene family shuffling was applied, and the hits selected from 2-tier screening of a shuffled gene family library contained in total 16 mutations, only some of which when examined individually appreciably increased thermal stability. Most mutations, while having minimal or no effect on thermal stability when tested in isolation, were found to exhibit synergy when combined; CsUDH-inc containing all 16 mutations had ΔK t 0.5 +18 °C, such that k cat was unaffected by incubation for 1 hr at ~70 °C. X-ray crystal structure of CsUDH-inc showed tight packing of the mutated residue side-chains, and comparison of rescaled B-values showed no obvious differences between wild type and mutant structures. Activity of CsUDH-inc was severely depressed on glucuronic and galacturonic acids. Combining select combinations of only three mutations resulted in good or comparable activity on these uronic acids, while maintaining some improved thermostability with ΔK t 0.5 ~+ 10 °C, indicating potential to further thermally optimize CsUDH for hyperthermophilic reaction environments.

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