Phycobiliproteins are water-soluble, light-harvesting proteins that are highly fluorescent due to linear tetrapyrrole chromophores, which makes them valuable as probes. Enzymes called bilin lyases usually attach these bilin chromophores to specific cysteine residues within the alpha and beta subunits via thioether linkages. A multiplasmid coexpression system was used to recreate the biosynthetic pathway for phycobiliproteins from the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002 in Escherichia coli. This system efficiently produced chromophorylated allophycocyanin (ApcA/ApcB) and α-phycocyanin with holoprotein yields ranging from 3 to 12 mg liter-1 of culture. This heterologous expression system was used to demonstrate that the CpcS-I and CpcU proteins are both required to attach phycocyanobilin (PCB) to allophycocyanin subunits ApcD (αAP-B) and ApcF (β18). The N-terminal, allophycocyanin-like domain of ApcE (LCM99) was produced in soluble form and was shown to have intrinsic bilin lyase activity. Lastly, this in vivo system was used to evaluate the efficiency of the bilin lyases for production of β-phycocyanin.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology