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Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2008 Aug;94(2):223-32. doi: 10.1007/s10482-008-9235-1. Epub 2008 Mar 14.

Secretion pathway for the poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) depolymerase in Ralstonia pickettii T1.

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Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Kanagawa University, 2946 Tsuchiya, Hiratsuka, Kanagawa 259-1293, Japan.


The extracellular poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) depolymerase from Ralstonia pickettii T1 has been purified, its function and character investigated in detail, and its gene cloned and sequenced. However, the mechanism by which this enzyme is secreted has not been elucidated. A mutant unable to degrade poly(3-hydroxybutyrate), N17, was obtained with the random insertion of a mini-transposon, Tn5. Western analysis using antiserum against the poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) depolymerase of Ralstonia pickettii T1, revealed that N17 accumulated the poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) depolymerase in the periplasm and cytoplasm, and did not secrete the enzyme into the external medium. It was also found that 3-hydroxybutyrate-oligomer hydrolase was secreted but inactive. The disrupted gene in N17, depO, was analyzed by Southern hybridization and its nucleotide sequence was determined. One complete open reading frame was found in the cloned 2.3-kbp DNA fragment. From a BLAST search, this gene product was found to be homologous to PulO of Ralstonia eutropha JMP134 (60% identity) and XcpA of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (60% identity). These proteins are prepilin peptidase/N-metyltransferases, a component of the Type II secretion pathway. DepO also had the four cysteines highly conserved in most prepilin peptidases at the same positions. The transcript of depO was examined by Northern hybridization using depO as a probe. In the total RNA of Ralstonia pickettii T1 in the early stationary phase, a band at 2.6-kb was detected, suggesting depO to be a functional gene. In this study, it was found that poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) depolymerase was secreted by the Type II pathway.

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