Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.103, No.4, 1777-1787, 2019
The Listeria innocua chitinase LinChi78 has a unique region that is necessary for hydrolytic activity
Chitinases are generally composed of multiple domains; a catalytic domain and one or more additional domains that are not absolutely required but may modify the chitinolytic activity. The LinChi78 chitinase from Listeria innocua has a catalytic domain (CatD), a fibronectin type III-like (FnIII) domain, a chitin-binding domain (ChBD), and an unknown-function region (UFR) located between the CatD and FnIII domains. The UFR is 146 amino acid residues in length and does not have a homologous domain in the Conserved Domain Database. We performed a functional analysis of these domains and the UFR using several C-terminally and internally deleted mutants of LinChi78. Hydrolysis of an artificial substrate was almost unaffected by deletion of the ChBD and/or the FnIII domain, although the ChBD-deleted enzymes were approximately 30% less active toward colloidal chitin than LinChi78. On the other hand, deletion of the UFR led to an extensive loss of chitinase activity toward an artificial substrate as well as polymeric substrates. Upon further analysis, we found that the GKQTI stretch, between the 567th (G) and 571th (I) amino acid residues, in the UFR is critical for LinChi78 activity and demonstrated that Gln569 and Ile571 play central roles in eliciting this activity. Taken together, these results indicated that LinChi78 has a unique catalytic region composed of a typical CatD and an additional region that is essential for activity. Characterization of the unique catalytic region of LinChi78 will improve our understanding of GH18 chitinases.