Cloning, expression and decoding of the cold adaptation of a new widely represented thermolabile subtilisin-like protease

J. P. Acevedo*, V. Rodriguez, M. Saavedra, M. Muñoz, O. Salazar, J. A. Asenjo, B. A. Andrews

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Aims: Cloning, expression and characterization of a new cold-adapted protease with potential biotechnological application, isolated from Antarctic bacteria. Method and Results: A subtilisin-like gene was isolated from several Antarctic bacterial genus using CODPEHOP-designed primers and a genome walking method. This gene encodes a precursor protein, which undergoes an autocatalytic cleavage resulting in a 34·6 kDa active cold-adapted protease with a maximum activity at 25-35°C and optimum pH of 8·0-9·0. It showed a higher catalytic efficiency at lower temperatures compared to its mesophilic counterpart. Heat-induced inactivation resulted in a very low melting point. Local packing analysis using the homology model indicated Ala284 as an important cold-adaptation determinant, which was corroborated by the site-directed mutagenesis. Conclusions: A new thermolabile subtilisin-like protease has been successfully cloned and analysed, and an important hot spot in the evolution of the cold adaptation and substrate specificity of this enzyme was identified and tested. Significance and Impact of the Study: This work reports a new cold-adapted protease with a vast representation amongst Antarctic genus, suggesting therefore its evolutionary success in this cold environment. Likewise, important sites for genetic potentiation have been identified, which are extrapolated to other enzymes of the same kind.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-363
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Cold adaption
  • Pseudoalteromonas sp.
  • Subtilisin-like protease


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