Direct cloning and expression of putative esterase genes from environmental DNA

Takeshi Terahara*, Kazutaka Yamada, Shinya Kurata, Toyokazu Yokomaku, Satoshi Tsuneda, Shigeaki Harayama

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Putative esterase genes were isolated from environmental DNA by using pre-amplified inverse PCR. The sequence analysis of the isolated genes showed 32-80% amino acid sequence identities to known esterases/lipases in public databases. The isolated genes were subsequently expressed in recombinant Escherichia coli. Insoluble proteins were noted in the expression of the majority of the isolated genes. The findings suggest that it is difficult to isolate these genes by using activity-based screening with construction of metagenome library. For the enzymes characterized, we examined substrate specificity, optimal temperature, optimal pH, and thermal stability. The substrate specificity of all the enzymes was high for p-nitrophenyl acetate, but almost undetectable for p-nitrophenyl decanoate. The results indicate that the obtained enzymes are defined as esterases. The enzymes were active in a broad range of temperature. The optimum activity was observed at 25-70°C and at pH 8.0-9.0. Some enzymes have moderate thermostability and would be useful for industrial enzymes. This study illustrates that pre-amplified inverse PCR, which is one of the sequence-based approach, is potentially applicable to the isolation of diverse genes from environmental DNA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-23
Number of pages7
JournalEnzyme and Microbial Technology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jul


  • Esterase
  • Inverse PCR
  • Metagenome
  • Sequence-based approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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