Localization, purification and properties of a tetrathionate hydrolase from Acidithiobacillus caldus


E. Börje Lindström, Department of Molecular Biology, Umeå University, S-90187 Umeå, Sweden.
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E-mail: Borje.Lindstrom@molbiol.umu.se


The moderately thermophilic bacterium Acidithiobacillus caldus is found in bacterial populations in many bioleaching operations throughout the world. This bacterium oxidizes elemental sulfur and other reduced inorganic sulfur compounds as the sole source of energy. The purpose of this study was to purify and characterize the tetrathionate hydrolase of A. caldus. The enzyme was purified 16.7-fold by one step chromatography using a SP Sepharose column. The purified enzyme resolved into a single band in 10% polyacrylamide gel, both under denaturing and native conditions. Its homogeneity was confirmed by N-terminal amino acid sequencing. Tetrathionate hydrolase was shown to be a homodimer with a molecular mass of 103 kDa (composed from two 52 kDa monomers). The purified enzyme had optimum activity at pH 3.0 and 40 °C and an isoelectric point of 9.8. The periplasmic localization of the enzyme was determined by differential fractionation of A. caldus cells. Detected products of the tetrathionate hydrolase reaction were thiosulfate and pentathionate as confirmed by RP-HPLC analysis. The activity of the purified enzyme was drastically enhanced by divalent metal ions.