We previously reported the purification and characterization of a novel type of alkaline ceramidase from Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain AN17 (Okino, N., Tani, M., Imayama, S., and Ito, M. (1998) J. Biol. Chem. 273, 14368- 14373). Here, we report the molecular cloning, sequencing, and expression of the gene encoding the ceramidase of this strain. Specific oligonucleotide primers were synthesized using the peptide sequences of the purified ceramidase obtained by digestion with lysylendopeptidase and used for polymerase chain reaction. DNA fragments thus amplified were used as probes to clone the gene encoding the ceramidase from a genomic library of strain AN17. The open reading frame of 2,010 nucleotides encoded a polypeptide of 670 amino acids including a signal sequence of 24 residues, 64 residues of which matched the amino acid sequence determined for the purified enzyme. The molecular weight of the mature enzyme was estimated to be 70,767 from the deduced amino acid sequence. Expression of the ceramidase gene in Escherichia coli, resulted in production of a soluble enzyme with the identical N- terminal amino acid sequence. Recombinant ceramidase was purified to homogeneity from the lysate of E. coli cells and confirmed to be identical to the Pseudomonas enzyme in its specificity and other enzymatic properties. No significant sequence similarities were found in other known functional proteins including human acid ceramidase. However, we found a sequence homologous to the ceramidase in hypothetical proteins encoded in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Dictyostelium discoideum, and Arabidopsis thaliana. The homologue of the ceramidase gene was thus cloned from an M. tuberculosis cosmid and expressed in E. coli, and the gene was demonstrated to encode an alkaline ceramidase. This is the first report for the cloning of an alkaline ceramidase.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology