The sequence encoding the endopolygalacturonase (PG) of Fusarium moniliforme was cloned into the E. coli/yeast shuttle vector Yepsec1 for secretion in yeast, The recombinant plasmid (pCC6) was used to transform Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain S150-2B; transformed yeast cells were able to secrete PG activity into the culture medium, The enzyme (wtY-PG) was purified, characterized, and shown to possess biochemical properties similar to those of the PG purified from F. moniliforme. The wtY-PG was able to macerate potato medullary tissue disks and was inhibited by the polygalacturonase-inhibiting protein (PGIP) purified from Phaseolus vulgaris. The sequence encoding PG in pCC6 was subjected to site-directed mutagenesis. Three residues in a region highly conserved in all the sequences known to encode PGs were separately mutated: His 234 was mutated into Lys (H 234-->K), and Ser 237 and Ser 240 into Gly (S 237-->G and S 240-->G). Each of the mutated sequences was used to transform S. cerevisiae and the mutated enzymes were purified and characterized. Replacement of His 234 with Lys abolished the enzymatic activity, confirming the biochemical evidence that a His residue is critical for enzyme activity. Replacement of either Ser 237 or Ser 240 with Gly reduced the enzymatic activity to 48% and 6%, respectively, of the wtY-PG. When applied to potato medullary tissue, F. moniliforme PG and wtY-PG caused comparable maceration, while the variant PGs exhibited a limited (S 234-->G and S 240-->G) or null (H 234-->K) macerating activity. The interaction between the variant enzymes and the P. vulgaris PGIP was investigated using a biosensor based on surface plasmon resonance (BIAlite). The three variant enzymes were still able to interact and bind to PGIP with association constants comparable to that of the wild type enzyme.
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