Prolyl aminopeptidases are specific exopeptidases that catalyze the hydrolysis of the N-terminus proline residue of peptides and proteins. In the present study, the prolyl aminopeptidase gene (pap) from Aspergillus oryzae JN-412 was optimized through the codon usage of Pichia pastoris. Both the native and optimized pap genes were inserted into the expression vector pPIC9 K and were successfully expressed in P. pastoris. Additionally, the activity of the intracellular enzyme expressed by the recombinant optimized pap gene reached 61.26 U mL(-1), an activity that is 2.1-fold higher than that of the native gene. The recombinant enzyme was purified by one-step elution through Ni-affinity chromatography. The optimal temperature and pH of the purified PAP were 60 °C and 7.5, respectively. Additionally, the recombinant PAP was recovered at a yield greater than 65 % at an extremely broad range of pH values from 6 to 10 after treatment at 50 °C for 6 h. The molecular weight of the recombinant PAP decreased from 50 kDa to 48 kDa after treatment with a deglycosylation enzyme, indicating that the recombinant PAP was completely glycosylated. The glycosylated PAP exhibited high thermo-stability. Half of the activity remained after incubation at 50 °C for 50 h, whereas the remaining activity of PAP expressed in E. coli was only 10 % after incubation at 50 °C for 1 h. PAP could be activated by the appropriate salt concentration and exhibited salt tolerance against NaCl at a concentration up to 5 mol L(-1).
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