3′-Untranslated region (3′UTR) engineering was investigated to improve solubility of heterologous proteins (e.g., Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenases (BVMOs)) in Escherichia coli. Insertion of gene fragments containing putative RNase E recognition sites into the 3′UTR of the BVMO genes led to the reduction of mRNA levels in E. coli. Importantly, the amounts of soluble BVMOs were remarkably enhanced resulting in a proportional increase of in vivo catalytic activities. Notably, this increase in biocatalytic activity correlated to the number of putative RNase E endonucleolytic cleavage sites in the 3′UTR. For instance, the biotransformation activity of the BVMO BmoF1 (from Pseudomonas fluorescens DSM50106) in E. coli was linear to the number of RNase E cleavage sites in the 3′UTR. In summary, 3′UTR engineering can be used to improve the soluble expression of heterologous enzymes, thereby fine-tuning the enzyme activity in microbial cells.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the Marine Biomaterials Research Center grant from the Marine Biotechnology Program funded by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Republic of Korea