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Characterization of a new endogenous endo-β-1,4-glucanase of Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus)

Zhang, Dunhua, Lax, Alan R., Bland, John M., Allen, April B.
Insect biochemistry and molecular biology 2011 v.41 no.4 pp. 211
Coptotermes acinaciformis, genome walking, Coptotermes formosanus, Escherichia coli, Reticulitermes flavipes, Reticulitermes speratus, amino acid sequences, biofuels, biotransformation, cellobiose, cellulose, chromosome walking, endo-1,4-beta-glucanase, genes, nucleotide sequences, phylogeny, recombinant proteins, salivary glands, screening, subterranean termites, transcriptome, wood
The present work characterized a new endogenous cellulase (endo-β-1,4-glucanase) gene, CfEG5, uncovered in the transcriptome of Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus). The full-length gene was cloned and sequenced. It is similar to the CfEG3a described earlier (Zhang et al., 2009) but not likely an allelic variant. GenomeWalker™ DNA walking analysis indicated that there may be one copy of CfEG5 and two copies of CfEG3a in the termite genome. As with CfEG3a, the transcript of CfEG5 was detected predominantly in the salivary gland based on quantitative RT-PCR. Phylogenetic analysis of translated amino acid sequence showed that the CfEG5 is more related to CaEG, derived from an Australian subterranean termite (Coptotermes acinaciformis), than CfEG3a and other cellulases from Coptotermes formosanus, Reticulitermes speratus, or Reticulitermes flavipes. Recombinant CfEG5, produced in Escherichia coli, was active against filter-paper cellulose, resulting in mostly cellobiose and cellotriose, similar to the enzymatic and biochemical properties of CfEG3a. These findings would lead to further investigation of both the evolutionary origin of eukaryotic cellulase genes and the evolutionary relationship of termite species. The cellulose-degrading enzyme is applicable for bioconversion of wood to simple sugars and production of biofuels. The recombinant cellulase should also be useful for designing and screening of inhibitors for the development of target-specific and environment-friendly bio-termicides.