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Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Jan 15;14(1):1728-39. doi: 10.3390/ijms14011728.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid production using immobilized glutamate decarboxylase followed by downstream processing with cation exchange chromatography.

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University of Science and Technology (UST), 217 Gajeong-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-350, Korea.


We have developed a gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) production technique using his-tag mediated immobilization of Escherichia coli-derived glutamate decarboxylase (GAD), an enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of glutamate to GABA. The GAD was obtained at 1.43 g/L from GAD-overexpressed E. coli fermentation and consisted of 59.7% monomer, 29.2% dimer and 2.3% tetramer with a 97.6% soluble form of the total GAD. The harvested GAD was immobilized to metal affinity gel with an immobilization yield of 92%. Based on an investigation of specific enzyme activity and reaction characteristics, glutamic acid (GA) was chosen over monosodium glutamate (MSG) as a substrate for immobilized GAD, resulting in conversion of 2.17 M GABA in a 1 L reactor within 100 min. The immobilized enzymes retained 58.1% of their initial activities after ten consecutive uses. By using cation exchange chromatography followed by enzymatic conversion, GABA was separated from the residual substrate and leached GAD. As a consequence, the glutamic acid was mostly removed with no detectable GAD, while 91.2% of GABA was yielded in the purification step.

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