An unusual halotolerant alpha-type carbonic anhydrase from the alga Dunaliella salina functionally expressed in Escherichia coli. Academic Article uri icon


  • A 60-kDa, salt-inducible, internally duplicated alpha-type carbonic anhydrase (Dca) is associated with the plasma membrane of the extremely salt-tolerant, unicellular, green alga Dunaliella salina. Unlike other carbonic anhydrases, Dca remains active over a very broad range of salinities (0-4M NaCl), thus representing a novel type of extremely halotolerant enzyme. To elucidate the structural principles of halotolerance, structure-function investigations of Dca have been initiated. Such studies require considerable amounts of the enzyme, and hence, large-scale algal cultivation. Furthermore, the purified enzyme is often contaminated with other, co-purifying algal carbonic anhydrases. Expression in heterologous systems offers a means to produce, and subsequently purify, sufficiently large amounts of Dca required for activity and structural studies. Attempts to over-express Dca in the Escherichia coli BL21(DE3)pLysS strain, after optimizing various expression parameters, produced soluble, but weakly active protein, composed of fully reduced and variably -S-S- cross-linked chains (each of the Dca repeats contains a pair of cysteine residues, presumably forming a disulfide bond). However, when the E. coli Origami B(DE3)pLysS strain was used as a host, a functionally active enzyme with proper disulfide bonds was formed in good yield. Affinity-purified recombinant Dca resembled the native enzyme from D. salina in activity and salt tolerance. Hence, this expression system offers a means of pursuing detailed studies of this extraordinary protein using biochemical, biophysical, and crystallographic approaches.

published proceedings

  • Protein Expr Purif

author list (cited authors)

  • Premkumar, L., Bageshwar, U. K., Gokhman, I., Zamir, A., & Sussman, J. L.

citation count

  • 48

complete list of authors

  • Premkumar, Lakshmanane||Bageshwar, Umesh K||Gokhman, Irena||Zamir, Ada||Sussman, Joel L

publication date

  • January 2003