Applied and environmental microbiology

To be or not to be a poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) depolymerase: PhaZd1 (PhaZ6) and PhaZd2 (PhaZ7) of Ralstonia eutropha, highly active PHB depolymerases with no detectable role in mobilization of accumulated PHB.

PMID 24907326


The putative physiological functions of two related intracellular poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) depolymerases, PhaZd1 and PhaZd2, of Ralstonia eutropha H16 were investigated. Purified PhaZd1 and PhaZd2 were active with native PHB granules in vitro. Partial removal of the proteinaceous surface layer of native PHB granules by trypsin treatment or the use of PHB granules isolated from ΔphaP1 or ΔphaP1-phaP5 mutant strains resulted in increased specific PHB depolymerase activity, especially for PhaZd2. Constitutive expression of PhaZd1 or PhaZd2 reduced or even prevented the accumulation of PHB under PHB-permissive conditions in vivo. Expression of translational fusions of enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (EYFP) with PhaZd1 and PhaZd2 in which the active-site serines (S190 and Ser193) were replaced with alanine resulted in the colocalization of only PhaZd1 fusions with PHB granules. C-terminal fusions of inactive PhaZd2(S193A) with EYFP revealed the presence of spindle-like structures, and no colocalization with PHB granules was observed. Chromosomal deletion of phaZd1, phaZd2, or both depolymerase genes had no significant effect on PHB accumulation and mobilization during growth in nutrient broth (NB) or NB-gluconate medium. Moreover, neither proteome analysis of purified native PHB granules nor lacZ fusion studies gave any indication that PhaZd1 or PhaZd2 was detectably present in the PHB granule fraction or expressed at all during growth on NB-gluconate medium. In conclusion, PhaZd1 and PhaZd2 are two PHB depolymerases with a high capacity to degrade PHB when artificially expressed but are apparently not involved in PHB mobilization in the wild type. The true in vivo functions of PhaZd1 and PhaZd2 remain obscure.