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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The expression of cellulomomas fimi cellulase genes in Brevibacterium lactofermentum and characterization of recombinant C. fimi B-glucosidase A from E coli Paradis, François William


In the first part of this thesis, I describe the expression of C. fimi cellulase genes in the closely related Brevibacterium lactofermentum by generating a shuttle vector able to replicate selectively in the latter and carrying full length cellulase-encoding genes. The expression of those genes apparently originated from some unpredicted regulatory sequences, possibly located within the vector itself. The enzymatic activity was mostly found in the culture medium in B. lactofermentum indicating that the organism secreted the enzymes. The putative C. fimi promoter sequences did not function in B. lactofermentum, making difficult the analysis of their roles in expression of C. fimi cellulase genes. In the second part of this thesis, I describe the characterization of a recombinant C. fimi exo-ϐ-1,4-glucosidase (CbgA) expressed in E. coli. The purified enzyme had a Mr of 183 kDa and hydrolysed various ϐ-glucosides with a preference for cello-oligosaccharides in the order C5>C4>C3>C2. The intact CbgA polypeptide was not required for enzymatic activity since removal of about 700 residues from the amino terminus did not reduce activity. The purified enzyme was used to raise polyclonal antibodies which in turn were used to identify the corresponding enzyme in C. fimi. During the fractionation of C. fimi ϐ-glucosidases, several enzymes hydrolyzing various ϐ-glucosides were isolated together with the native CbgA, which was present in the culture medium as part of a protein aggregate. Part of the nucleotide sequence of the 7.2 kb insert was determined. Alignments of the N-terminal amino acid sequences of the purified CbgA and truncated polypeptides with the partial nucleotide sequence of the cloned C. fimi DNA showed that precise excision was responsible for the appearance of a truncated form of CbgA. Alignment of the amino-terminal sequence of a CbgA:CexCBD fusion peptide indicated that the pre-mature CbgA starts with a putative leader sequence of 49 amino acids which is followed by a region rich in Pro and Ala residues. Two GTG translational initiation codons followed by sequences resemblingprokaryotic ribosome binding sites and separated by a large open reading frame were identified from data obtained after in vitro site-directed mutagenesis of the most upstream initiation codon suggesting that internal re-initiation may occur and that upstream regulatory sequences had not been isolated.

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