Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering, Vol.97, No.6, 400-405, 2004
Cloning of a novel tyrosinase-encoding gene (melB) from Aspergillus oryzae and its overexpression in solid-state culture (Rice Koji)
We have cloned a novel tyrosinase-encoding gene (melB) specifically expressed in solid-state culture of Aspergillus oryzae. A tyrosinase-encoding gene (melO) from A. oryzae was already cloned and the protein structures of its catalytic and copper binding domains were investigated. However, our recent results revealed that the melO gene was highly expressed in submerged culture but not in solid-state culture. Because tyrosinase activity was also detected in solid-state culture, we assumed that another tyrosinase gene other than melO is expressed in solid-state culture. Another tyrosinase gene was screened using the expressed sequence tag (EST) library. One redundant cDNA clone homologous with the tyrosinase gene was found in the collection of wheat bran culture. Northern blot analysis revealed that the gene corresponding to the cDNA clone was specifically expressed in solid-state culture (koji making), but not in submerged culture. Molecular cloning showed that the gene carried six exons interrupted by five introns and had an open reading frame encoding 616 amino acid residues. This gene was designated as melB. The deduced amino acid sequence of the gene had weak homology (24%-33%) with MelO and other fungal tyrosinases but the sequences of the copper binding domains were highly conserved. When the melB gene was expressed under the control of the glaB promoter in solid-state culture, tyrosinase activity was markedly enhanced and the culture mass was browned with the melanization by MelB tyrosinase. These results indicated that the melB gene encodes a novel tyrosinase associated with melanization in solid-state culture.