Proteases of enhanced stability: Characteization of a thermostable variant of subtilisin

Philip N. Brayan, Michele L. Rollence, Michael W. Pantoliano, James Wood, Barry C. Finzel, Gary L. Gilliland, Andrew J. Howard, Thomas L. Poulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


A Procedure has been developed for the isolation and identification of mutants in the bacterial serine protease subtilisin that exhibit enhanced thermal stability. The cloned subtilisin BPN'gene from Bacillus amyloliquefaciens was treated with bisulfite, a chemical mutagen that deaminates cytosine to uracil in single‐stranded DNA. Strains containing the cloned, mutagenized subtilisin gene which produced subtilisin with enhanced thermal stability were selected by a simple plate assay procedure which screens for esterase activity on nitrocellulose filters after preincubation at elevated temperatures. One thermostable subtilisin variant, designated 7150, has been fully characterized and found to differ from wild‐type subtilisin by a single substitution of Ser for Asn at position 218. The 7150 enzyme was found to undergo thermal inactivation at onefourth the rate of the wild‐type enzyme when incubated at elevated temperatures. Moreover, the midpoint in the thermally induced transition from the folded to unfolded state was found to be 2.4–3.9°C higher for 7150 as determined by differential scanning calorimetry under a variety of conditions. The refined, 1.8‐Å crystal structures of the wild‐type and 7150 subtilisin have been compared in detail, leading to the conclusion that slight improvements in hydrogen bond parameters in the vicinity of position 218 result in the enhanced thermal stability of 7150.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-334
Number of pages9
JournalProteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1986


  • mutagenesis
  • plate assay
  • protein engineering
  • thermal stability
  • thermophilic enzymes


Dive into the research topics of 'Proteases of enhanced stability: Characteization of a thermostable variant of subtilisin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this