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Arch Microbiol. 1997 Oct;168(4):282-9.

Glycine betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase from Bacillus subtilis: characterization of an enzyme required for the synthesis of the osmoprotectant glycine betaine.

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Philipps Universit├Ąt, Department of Biology, Laboratory for Microbiology, Karl-von-Frisch-Strasse, D-35032 Marburg, Germany.


Production of the compatible solute glycine betaine from its precursors choline or glycine betaine aldehyde confers a considerable level of tolerance against high osmolarity stress to the soil bacterium Bacillus subtilis. The glycine betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase GbsA is an integral part of the osmoregulatory glycine betaine synthesis pathway. We strongly overproduced this enzyme in an Escherichia coli strain that expressed a plasmid-encoded gbsA gene under T7φ10 control. The recombinant GbsA protein was purified 23-fold to apparent homogeneity by fractionated ammonium sulfate precipitation, ion-exchange chromatography on Q-Sepharose, and subsequent hydrophobic interaction chromatography on phenyl-Sepharose. Molecular sieving through Superose 12 and sedimentation centrifugation through a glycerol gradient suggested that the native enzyme is a homodimer with 53.7-kDa subunits. The enzyme was specific for glycine betaine aldehyde and could use both NAD+ and NADP+ as cofactors, but NAD+ was strongly preferred. A kinetic analysis of the GbsA-mediated oxidation of glycine betaine aldehyde to glycine betaine revealed Km values of 125 microM and 143 microM for its substrates glycine betaine aldehyde and NAD+, respectively. Low concentrations of salts stimulated the GbsA activity, and the enzyme was highly tolerant of high ionic conditions. Even in the presence of 2.4 M KCl, 88% of the initial enzymatic activity was maintained. B. subtilis synthesizes high levels of proline when grown at high osmolarity, and the presence of this amino acid strongly stimulated the GbsA activity in vitro. The enzyme was stimulated by moderate concentrations of glycine betaine, and its activity was highly tolerant against molar concentrations of this osmolyte. The high salt tolerance and its resistance to its own reaction product are essential features of the GbsA enzyme and ensure that B. subtilis can produce high levels of the compatible solute glycine betaine under conditions of high osmolarity stress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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