Date of Award

Spring 4-26-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

George E. Pierce

Second Advisor

Sidney A. Crow

Third Advisor

Eric S. Gilbert

Abstract

Nitrile hydratase activity in Rhodococcus rhodochrous DAP 96253 can be induced with multiple inducers that include urea, cobalt (Co), iron (Fe) and nickel (Ni). When induced with Co/urea, cells of R. rhodochrous DAP 96253 expressed the highest level of nitrile hydratase activity (~200 units/min·mg-cdw) when compared with the other inducers tested. Cells induced with Co had the second highest nitrile hydratase activity (~7 units/min·mg-cdw), whereas in the uninduced cells, nitrile hydratase activity was lower than 1 unit/min·mg-cdw. Similarly in R. rhodochrous DAP 96622, when induced with Co/urea, the nitrile hydratase activity of R. rhodochrous DAP 96622 cells was around 50 units/min·mg-cdw which was the highest of all inducers tested. When induced with Co only, the nitrile hydratase activity of R. rhodochrous DAP 96622 was around 20 units/min·mg-cdw, and the nitrile hydratase activity of R. rhodochrous DAP 96622 uninduced was the same as the nitrile hydratase activity of uninduced R. rhodochrous DAP 96253.

When Co/urea induced R. rhodochrous DAP 96253 cell lysate was examined on gradient SDS-PAGE and analyzed by Image Quant TL, the nitrile hydratase bands (both α and β subunits) accounted for more than 55% of the total cytosolic proteins. Whereas in Co/urea induced R. rhodochrous DAP 96622, the nitrile hydratase bands accounted for around 25% of the total cytosolic proteins. According to matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry results, amidase in R. rhodochrous DAP 96253 was approximately 38 kDa from the nitrilase/cyanide hydratase family and amidase in R. rhodochrous DAP 96622 was 55 kDa from the amidase signature family.

In addition, the nitrile hydratase regulation system in both R. rhodochrous DAP 96253 and DAP 96622 strains are different. Moreover, the nitrile hydratase regulation system in R. rhodochrous DAP 96253 is different from R. rhodochrous J1.

Purified nitrile hydratase from R. rhodochrous DAP 96253 may form a protein complex with glutamine synthetase, resulting in a nitrile hydratase activity of approximately 1500 units/mg-proteins, and nitrile hydratase from R. rhodochrous DAP 96622 is not a protein complex and results in a nitrile hydratase activity of 950 units/mg-proteins.

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