Characterization of a DNA polymerase from the uncultivated psychrophilic archaeon Cenarchaeum symbiosum.


Cenarchaeum symbiosum, an archaeon which lives in specific association ...
Cenarchaeum symbiosum, an archaeon which lives in specific association with a marine sponge, belongs to a recently recognized nonthermophilic crenarchaeotal group that inhabits diverse cold and temperate environments. Nonthermophilic crenarchaeotes have not yet been obtained in laboratory culture, and so their phenotypic characteristics have been inferred solely from their ecological distribution. Here we report on the first protein to be characterized from one of these organisms. The DNA polymerase gene of C. symbiosum was identified in the vicinity of the rRNA operon on a large genomic contig. Its deduced amino acid sequence is highly similar to those of the archaeal family B (alpha-type) DNA polymerases. It shared highest overall sequence similarity with the crenarchaeal DNA polymerases from the extreme thermophiles Sulfolobus acidocaldarius and Pyrodictium occultum (54% and 53%, respectively). The conserved motifs of B (alpha-)-type DNA polymerases and 3'-5' exonuclease were identified in the 845-amino-acid sequence. The 96-kDa protein was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified with affinity tags. It exhibited its highest specific activity with gapped-duplex (activated) DNA as the substrate. Single-strand- and double-strand-dependent 3'-5' exonuclease activity was detected, as was a marginal 5'-3' exonuclease activity. The enzyme was rapidly inactivated at temperatures higher than 40 degrees C, with a half-life of 10 min at 46 degrees C. It was found to be less thermostable than polymerase I of E. coli and is substantially more heat labile than its most closely related homologs from thermophilic and hyperthermophilic crenarchaeotes. Although phylogenetic studies suggest a thermophilic ancestry for C. symbiosum and its relatives, our biochemical analysis of the DNA polymerase is consistent with the postulated nonthermophilic phenotype of these crenarchaeotes, to date inferred solely from their ecological distribution.




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