Ancestral Resurrection and Directed Evolution of Fungal Mesozoic Laccases
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AuthorGomez Fernandez, Bernardo J; Risso, Valeria A; Rueda, Andrés; Sánchez Ruiz, José M; Alcaldea, Miguel
American Society for Microbiology
Ancestral reconstructionDirected evolutionLaccase
Gomez-Fernandez, B. J., Risso, V. A., Rueda, A., Sanchez-Ruiz, J. M., & Alcalde, M. (2020). Ancestral resurrection and directed evolution of fungal mesozoic laccases. Applied and environmental microbiology, 86(14). [DOI:10.1128/AEM .00778-20]
ABSTRACT Ancestral sequence reconstruction and resurrection provides useful information for protein engineering, yet its alliance with directed evolution has been little explored. In this study, we have resurrected several ancestral nodes of fungal laccases dating back 500 to 250 million years. Unlike modern laccases, the resurrected Mesozoic laccases were readily secreted by yeast, with similar kinetic parameters, a broader stability, and distinct pH activity profiles. The resurrected Agaricomycetes laccase carried 136 ancestral mutations, a molecular testimony to its origin, and it was subjected to directed evolution in order to improve the rate of 1,3- cyclopentanedione oxidation, a –diketone initiator commonly used in vinyl polymerization reactions. IMPORTANCE The broad variety of biotechnological uses of fungal laccases is beyond doubt (food, textiles, pulp and paper, pharma, biofuels, cosmetics, and bioremediation), and protein engineering (in particular, directed evolution) has become the key driver for adaptation of these enzymes to harsh industrial conditions. Usually, the first requirement for directed laccase evolution is heterologous expression, which presents an important hurdle and often a time-consuming process. In this work, we resurrected a fungal Mesozoic laccase node which showed strikingly high heterologous expression and pH stability. As a proof of concept that the ancestral laccase is a suitable blueprint for engineering, we performed a quick directed evolution campaign geared to the oxidation of the -diketone 1,3-cyclopentanedione, a poor laccase substrate that is used in the polymerization of vinyl monomers.