• metagenomic cloning;
  • lipase;
  • bacteria;
  • sediment;
  • marine;
  • environmental genome


A novel lipase was isolated from a metagenomic library of Baltic Sea sediment bacteria. Prokaryotic DNA was extracted and cloned into a copy control fosmid vector (pCC1FOS) generating a library of >7000 clones with inserts of 24–39 kb. Screening for clones expressing lipolytic activity based on the hydrolysis of tributyrin and p-nitrophenyl esters, identified 1% of the fosmids as positive. An insert of 29 kb was fragmented and subcloned. Subclones with lipolytic activity were sequenced and an open reading frame of 978 bp encoding a 35.4-kDa putative lipase/esterase h1Lip1 (DQ118648) with 54% amino acid similarity to a Pseudomomas putida esterase (BAD07370) was identified. Conserved regions, including the putative active site, GDSAG, a catalytic triad (Ser148, Glu242 and His272) and a HGG motif, were identified. The h1Lip1 lipase was over expressed, (pGEX-6P-3 vector), purified and shown to hydrolyse p-nitrophenyl esters of fatty acids with chain lengths up to C14. Hydrolysis of the triglyceride derivative 1,2-di-O-lauryl-rac-glycero-3-glutaric acid 6′-methylresorufin ester (DGGR) confirmed that h1Lip1 was a lipase. The apparent optimal temperature for h1Lip1, by hydrolysis of p-nitrophenyl butyrate, was 35°C. Thermal stability analysis showed that h1Lip1 was unstable at 25°C and inactivated at 40°C with t1/2 <5 min.