Structural elucidation and molecular characterization of <i>Marinobacter</i> sp. α-amylase

<p>Halophiles have been perceived as potential source of novel enzymes in recent years. The interest emanates from their ability to catalyze efficiently under high salt and organic solvents. <i>Marinobacter</i> sp. EMB8 α-amylase was found to be active and stable in salt and organic solvents. A study was carried out using circular dichroism (CD), fluorescence spectroscopy, and bioinformatics analysis of similar protein sequence to ascertain molecular basis of salt and solvent adaptability of α-amylase. Structural changes recorded in the presence of varying amounts of NaCl exhibited an increase in negative ellipticity as a function of salt, confirming that salt stabilizes the protein and increases the secondary structure, making it catalytically functional. The data of intrinsic and extrinsic fluorescence (using 1-anilinonaphthalene 8-sulfonate [ANS] as probe) further confirmed the role of salt. The α-amylase was active in the presence of nonpolar solvents, namely, hexane and decane, but inactivated by ethanol. The decrease in the activity was correlated with the loss of tertiary structure in the presence of ethanol. Guanidine hydrochloride and pH denaturation indicated the molten globule state at pH 4.0. Partial N-terminal amino acid sequence of the purified α-amylase revealed the relatedness to <i>Pseudoalteromonas</i> sp. α-amylase. “FVHLFEW” was found as the N-terminal signature sequence. Bioinformatics analysis was done using <i>M. algicola</i> α-amylase protein having the same N-terminal signature sequence. The three-dimensional structure of <i>Marinobacter</i> α-amylase was deduced using the I-TASSER server, which reflected the enrichment of acidic amino acids on the surface, imparting the stability in the presence of salt. Our study clearly indicate that salt is necessary for maintaining the secondary and tertiary structure of halophilic protein, which is a necessary prerequisite for catalysis.</p>