Archaeal Inorganic Pyrophosphatase Displays Robust Activity under High-Salt Conditions and in Organic Solvents

Published: January 15th, 2016

Category: Uncategorized


Soluble inorganic pyrophosphatases (PPAs) that hydrolyze inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi) to orthophosphate (Pi) are commonly used to accelerate and detect biosynthetic reactions that generate PPi as a by-product. Current PPAs are inactivated by high salt concentrations and organic solvents, which limits the extent of their use. Here we report a class A type PPA of the haloarchaeon Haloferax volcanii (HvPPA) that is thermostable and displays robust PPi-hydrolyzing activity under conditions of 25% (vol/vol) organic solvent and salt concentrations from 25 mM to 3 M. HvPPA was purified to homogeneity as a homohexamer by a rapid two-step method and was found to display non-Michaelis-Menten kinetics with a Vmax of 465 U · mg−1 for PPi hydrolysis (optimal at 42°C and pH 8.5) and Hill coefficients that indicated cooperative binding to PPi and Mg2+. Similarly to other class A type PPAs, HvPPA was inhibited by sodium fluoride; however, hierarchical clustering and three-dimensional (3D) homology modeling revealed HvPPA to be distinct in structure from characterized PPAs. In particular, HvPPA was highly negative in surface charge, which explained its extreme resistance to organic solvents. To demonstrate that HvPPA could drive thermodynamically unfavorable reactions to completion under conditions of reduced water activity, a novel coupled assay was developed; HvPPA hydrolyzed the PPi by-product generated in 2 M NaCl by UbaA (a “salt-loving” noncanonical E1 enzyme that adenylates ubiquitin-like proteins in the presence of ATP). Overall, we demonstrate HvPPA to be useful for hydrolyzing PPi under conditions of reduced water activity that are a hurdle to current PPA-based technologies.

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Learn more about Dr. Maupin-Furlow!


Department of Microbiology and Cell Science University of Florida

Ph.D. University of Florida, Microbiology and Cell Science
Post-doctoral work at the Department of Anaerobic Microbiology,
Virginia Tech and The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State University

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Teaching Interests

Prokaryotic Cell Structure and Function
Anaerobic Microbiology and Biotechnology

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