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J Bacteriol. 2003 Apr;185(7):2379-82.

Characterization of the Bacillus subtilis ywtD gene, whose product is involved in gamma-polyglutamic acid degradation.

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Department of Applied Biological Chemistry, Faculty of Agriculture, Shizuoka University, 836 Ohya, Shizuoka 422-8529, Japan.


The ywtD gene, which codes for an enzyme that degrades gamma-polyglutamic acid (PGA), was cloned from Bacillus subtilis IFO16449. The gene is located immediately downstream of ywsC and ywtABC, a PGA operon involved in PGA biosynthesis, and it showed partial similarity to genes coding for DL-endopeptidase, a peptidoglycan-degrading enzyme. The ywtD gene, from which signal sequence is excised, was inserted into pET15b, and the recombinant plasmid was then transformed into Escherichia coli. Histidine-tagged YwtD was purified from sonicated cells of the transformant. The purified YwtD degraded PGA to yield two hydrolyzed products, a high-molecular-mass product (490 kDa with nearly 100% L-glutamic acid) and an 11-kDa product (with D-glutamic acid and L-glutamic acid in an 80:20 ratio). This finding and results of enzymatic analysis of the two products with carboxypeptidase G suggest that YwtD is a novel enzyme cleaving the gamma-glutamyl bond only between D- and L-glutamic acids of PGA, and it may be designated gamma-DL-glutamyl hydrolase.

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