(Difference between revisions)
 Revision as of 11:38, 27 October 2010 (view source) (→NADH production in cell extracts)← Older edit Revision as of 12:20, 27 October 2010 (view source)Mvoges (Talk | contribs) (→Resting-cell assays)Newer edit → Line 71: Line 71: |} |} - From the ratios we may conclude that the samples obtained from the ''E.coli'' strain, carrying the AH system, contain relatively less octane than the control strain. Using a two-point calibration method, where we set the ratio of 0.898 equal to the total amount of octane added (16.2 uL, 100 umol), we can estimate the enzymatic activity of the AH-system. We know the reaction time (12 h.) and the mg of protein for each sample (using the conversion factor 0.41g/L/OD). See the table below for details. + From the ratios we may conclude that the samples obtained from the ''E.coli'' strain, carrying the AH system, contain relatively less octane than the control strain. Using a two-point calibration method, where we set the ratio of 0.898 equal to the total amount of octane added (16.2 uL, 99.7 umol), we can estimate the enzymatic activity of the AH-system. We know the reaction time (12 h.) and the mg of protein for each sample (using the conversion factor 0.41g/L/OD). See the table below for details. {| style="color:black; background-color:white;" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0" border="1" {| style="color:black; background-color:white;" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0" border="1" Line 81: Line 81: |Enzymatic activity [U/mg protein] |Enzymatic activity [U/mg protein] |- |- - |''E.coli'' K12 negative control + |Blank - |0.898 + |0.832 |99.7 |99.7 + |000 |0.00 |0.00 - |1.51 |0.00 |0.00 + |- + |''E.coli'' K12 negative control + |0.821 + |99.7 + |1.34 + |1.51 + |0.89 |- |- |''E.coli'' K12 strain #1 (AH-system) |''E.coli'' K12 strain #1 (AH-system) - |0.719 + |0.652 |99.7 |99.7 - |20.0 + |21.6 |1.70 |1.70 - |0.0163 + |12.7 |- |- |''E.coli'' K12 strain #2 (AH-system) |''E.coli'' K12 strain #2 (AH-system) - |0.452 + |0.439 |99.7 |99.7 - |49.5 + |47.0 |1.46 |1.46 - |0.0472 + |32.3 |} |}

## Alkane Degradation Results & Conclusions

Figure 1 – Schematic description of the alkane degradation pathway with the corresponding genes.

### Characterization of the alkane hydroxylase system

#### Growth analysis

We attempted to culture our recombinant AH-carrying E.coli K12 strains (BBa_K398014) on 1% v/v octanol or 1% v/v dodecane. Negligible growth was observed.

#### Resting-cell assays

The resting cell assays were performed on our recombinant AH-carrying E.coli K12 cells (BBa_K398014). 100 micromoles of octane was added to 6 mL of growth-stalled cells (1.5 mg cell dry weight total) and incubated at 37 degrees with shaking o/n. The organic phase was extracted using EtOAc and analysed by gas chromatography.

The following are examples of typical chromatographs obtained:

Chromatograph of the negative control for the resting cell assay of the alkane hydroxylase system. The negative control consisted of E.coli K12 carrying BBa_J13002 in pSB1A2.
Chromatograph of E.coli K12 strain carrying the AH system.

The peaks shown in the chromatographs belong to the following compounds:

 Retention time [min] Compound ~2.2 Ethyl acetate (solvent) ~5.2 Octane (substrate) ~11.8 Undecane (internal standard, 0.1% v/v of solvent)

The surface areas of the peaks correspond to the amount of molecules present in the sample. Due to the fact that many factors play a role in establishing an equilibrium between the aqueous and organic phase once the EtOAC is added, it's general procedure to add an internal standard to the EtOAc. In our experiment we decided to use a 0.1% vol/vol of undecane in EtOAc. The ratio between the surface areas of octane and undecane can now give an indication of the amount of octane still present in the sample and be very useful for comparisons between chromatographs.

The following table contains the surface areas found for the peaks of octane and undecane for each obtained chromatograph:

 Strain Average octane surface area Average undecane surface area Ratio octane/undecane Standard deviation (%) Blank 16982464.5 20395149 0.832 6.16 E.coli K12 negative control 17076398.5 20889399 0.821 13.3 E.coli K12 014#2 16074272 24698891.5 0.652 14.4 E.coli K12 014#7 7906058 18010368.5 0.439 3.96

From the ratios we may conclude that the samples obtained from the E.coli strain, carrying the AH system, contain relatively less octane than the control strain. Using a two-point calibration method, where we set the ratio of 0.898 equal to the total amount of octane added (16.2 uL, 99.7 umol), we can estimate the enzymatic activity of the AH-system. We know the reaction time (12 h.) and the mg of protein for each sample (using the conversion factor 0.41g/L/OD). See the table below for details.

 Strain Ratio octane/undecane Octane added [umol] Octane converted [umol] Protein [mg] Enzymatic activity [U/mg protein] Blank 0.832 99.7 000 0.00 0.00 E.coli K12 negative control 0.821 99.7 1.34 1.51 0.89 E.coli K12 strain #1 (AH-system) 0.652 99.7 21.6 1.70 12.7 E.coli K12 strain #2 (AH-system) 0.439 99.7 47.0 1.46 32.3

#### Conclusions

We've succeeded in characterizing the activity of the alkane hydroxylase system using gas chromatography. By comparing peak ratios we were able to estimate the specific enzymatic activity of the system. The lack of an octanol peak in the GC-graphs above could be caused by the octanol being trapped by the cell, and thus not showing up in the organic (EtOAc) phase. Another likely explanation is that the octanol is readily converted by an aspecific alcohol dehydrogenase native to the E.coli K12 strain. In the future we would like to perform a resting-cell assay using P. putida and determine the enzymatic activity needed to support growth. A comparison of this natural-degrader value with the biological activity we've found of 0.047 U/mg would give more information on the growth feasibility of a strain carring the AH-system BioBrick on octane. Furthermore, a study could be done on the AH-system over time to find out more information on the kinetics of the system.

### Characterization of the Alcohol DeHydrogenase (ADH) system

##### Growth on alcohols as sole carbon source
• As we described before, we tried to grow our strain Escherichia coli 018A (BBa_K398018 on the plasmid pSB1A2) on the alkanols Octanol-1 and Dodecanol-1 (1% V/V on M9 medium without any other carbon source). No growth was observed after 48 hours. We abandoned this experiment after this result.
##### Resting cell assays
• We grew Escherichia coli 018A and Escherichia coli negative control (Biobrick BBa_J13002 on plasmid pSB1A2 ) in 50 mL of M9 medium with glucose and CAS aminoacids.
• The cells were harevested when the O.D. at 600nm was around 0.3; they were spun down at 4000 rpm, for 10 min at 4ºC. And the resting cell assays were prepared according to the standard protocol
 Strain O.D. J13002 0.327 018A 0.338
• After an overnight incubation at 37ºC, the organic phase was extracted using 3 mL of ethyl acetate (dodecane was used as internal standard). We tried to determine production of alkanals or alkanoic acids by Gas Chromatography measurements. The chromatograms are shown below:
Typical chromatograms obtained after the resting cell assays: (A) Blank, (B) Negative control which is E. coli K12, (C) E. coli 018A (our recombinant strain) and (D) standard of the expected product.

• According to our results there was no degradation of octanol-1 ='( , after this experiment the protocol was abandoned. We think that the cells lack of transporters for long-chain alcohols, we preferred to check the cell extract in order to know if there was any biological activity in the cytoplasma.
##### NADH production in cell extracts
• EXPERIMENT 1

Cells were cultured in 50mL of LB medium and harvested when the O.D. 600nm of the culture was around 0.6. Two different cultures of the recominant strain and the negative control were prepared.

 Strain O.D. 600nm J13002 (1) 0.654 J13002 (2) 0.621 018A (1) 0.615 018A (2) 0.580

Cytoplasmic proteins were extracted using our standard protocol. And a standard curve for protein quantification was prepared.

Standard curve for total protein quantification.

The total protein of each sample was quantified using 20uL of cell extract, the results are shown below.

 Sample O.D. 562 nm Total ug of protein ug/uL J13002(1A) 0.135 10.393 1.0393 J13002 (1B) 0.135 10.393 1.0393 J13002 (2A) 0.128 9.7363 0.9736 J13002 (2B) 0.129 9.8302 0.9830 018A (1A) 0.097 6.8275 0.6827 018A (1B) 0.091 6.2645 0.6264 018A (2A) 0.092 6.3583 0.6358 018A (2B) 0.092 6.3583 0.6358

The alcohol dehydrogenase activity was measured using the standard protocol and Dodecanol-1 as substrate. You can download our raw data by clicking on the link: TUDelft_ADH_raw.xls After the data treatment, the results that we obtained were the following:

• All the enzyme activities were normalized to the TOTAL amount of protein in the cell extract. The results are shown in katal per mg of protein in the cell extract and Enzymatic Units per mg of protein in the cell extract.

 pH=9.5 pH=8 Heat Native Heat Native J13002 018A J13002 018A J13002 018A J13002 018A kat/mg 6,156E-12 1,941E-11 1,053E-11 2,806E-11 3,211E-12 4,496E-11 1,302E-11 2,638E-11 U/mg 3,694E-04 1,091E-03 6,317E-04 1,694E-03 1,927E-04 2,139E-03 7,811E-04 1,608E-03 stdev 1,157E-12 4,579E-12 1,343E-12 9,961E-13 6,395E-12 2,331E-11 6,511E-13 9,961E-13 Improvement - 215,34% - 166,51% - 1299,87% - 166,51% ttest - 0,9963 - 1,0000 - 0,9988 - 1,000

• Maybe you are not familiar with the term "katal", officially the katal is the STANDARD UNIT FOR CATALYTIC ACTIVITY in the International System of Units; the katal is defined as the amount of enzyme that converts 1 mol of substrate each second. Click here to know more about it, and because people are not that familiar with the term, we report the activities in U/mg. One enzyme activity unit is defined as the amount of protein that converts 1 umol of substrate each minute.
• T-tests were performed in order to show that there is a difference between E. coli and our recombinant strain; a result for t-test of 1 means that both samples are statistically different; whereas a t-test of nearly 0 means that samples belong to the same group (no difference between both). Our level of significance is 0.025, in two tailed test. That means that if our t-test result is 0.95 we conclude that both samples are statistically different, whereas 0.949 or lower means that both samples are not statistically different.

• EXPERIMENT 2

We ran a second experiment at pH 9.5, with two other strains that seemed to be positive in the colony PCR test. In this test we also added two extra strains of E. coli in order to have more data for the statistical analysis, the strains used were J13002 and 331 (BBa_K398331 in pSB1A2). We followed the same procedure as in the experiment 1, for this experiment we also included a positive control which was cell extracts from a culture of Pseudomonas putida growing on octane as sole carbon source, the cells were inoculated the night before and they were harvested when the O.D. at 600 nm was 0.608; the results obtained were the following:

kat/mgU/mgSTDEVImprovementT-testRelative to putida
E. Coli8.75E-125.25E-048.18987E-12--0.90%
018A-29.30E-125.58E-041.84877E-126.26%0.47080.96%
018A-33.05E-111.83E-036.27802E-12249.14%0.98083.15%
018A-48.26E-124.96E-041.8256E-12-5.59%0.40530.85%
P. Putida9.69E-105.82E-022.09109E-10-0.9883100.00%

According to these results, the other two strains (018A-2 and 018A-4) do not functionally express the part BBa_K398018. However, these results confirm our findings from the first experiment. You can download our result in this link: File:TUDelft ADH results2.xls You can also find a summary in this file:File:TUDelft ADH summary.xls

#### Conclusions

According to our results, a normal E. coli cell extract has a dodecanol-1 dehydrogenase activity of 9.64e-12 kat/mg (0.58 mU/mg); whereas our recombinant strain 018A has an activity of 2.93e-11 kat/mg (1.76 mU/mg). According to our analysis, the enzymatic activities of both strains are statistically different at confidence level of 0.95, which means that the part BBa_K398018 increases 2 times the alcohol dehydrogenase activity in the cell extract. We can conclude from our data that the parts BBa_K398005 and BBa_K398018 have biological activity; particularly when we used BBa_K398018 the enzyme activity of E. coli cell extracts became equivalent to 3% of the in vitro activity of the positive control (Pseudomonas putida). A comparison of both activities maybe it is not interesting from the functional point of view, since those differences could be related to substrate affinity or discrepancies in the optimal pH. However, we think that from this comparison of both in vitro activities we can suggest future teams interested in our part BBa_K398005 to use a stronger promoter-rbs combination; maybe by increasing the amount of protein produced it is possible to get higher in vitro and in vivo activities. Nevertheless, we have to stress that the in vivo activity of the part BBa_K398018 is still unknown for us, maybe there is a lack of long-chain alcohol transporter proteins or it is necessary to over-express this part in order to see/measure it.

### Characterization of the ALdehyde DeHydrogenase system

##### Growth on alcohols as sole carbon source

As we described before, we tried to grow our recombinant strains Escherichia coli 029A (BBa_K398029 on the plasmid pSB1A2) and Escherichia coli 030A (BBa_K398030 on the plasmid pSB1A2) on Octanal and Dodecanal. No growth was observed after 48 hours. We abandoned this experiment after this result.

##### Resting cell assays
• We grew 'Escherichia coli 029A, Escherichia coli 030Aand Escherichia coli negative control (Biobrick BBa_J13002 on plasmid pSB1A2 ) in 50 mL of M9 medium with glucose and CAS aminoacids.
• The cells were harevested when the O.D. at 600nm was around 0.3; they were spun down at 4000 rpm, for 10 min at 4ºC. And the resting cell assays were prepared according to the standard protocol
 Strain O.D. J13002 0.327 029A 0.340 030A 0.330

Note: This experiment was run in parallel with the resting cell assays for 018A, the negative control culture of the strain J13002 used was the same for both experiments.

• After an overnight incubation at 37ºC with the substrate (octanal), the organic phase was extracted using 3 mL of ethyl acetate (dodecane was used as internal standard). We tried to determine production of alkanoic acids by Gas Chromatography measurements. The chromatograms are shown below:
Typical chromatograms obtained after the resting cell assays: (A) Blank, (B) Negative control which is E. coli K12, (C) E. coli 029A (our recombinant strain) and (D) E. coli 029A (our recombinant strain).

• According to our results there was a peak reduction for octanal, however we were worried because of the fact that we didn't see the peak of the product (dodecanoic acid) appearing. It could be that the cells are just storing the product inside the cell. The experiment required to much time in order to get more results: the extractions, preparation of triplicates, cultures, cell suspensions... etc. it was a work that would require an effort of all the team for a couple of weeks. We decided to go for something easier and faster to measure; since we had some experience with the NADH determinations that was our choice.

#### NADH production in cell extracts

Cells were cultured in 50mL of LB medium and harvested when the O.D. 600nm of the culture was between 0.5-0.8. Two different cultures of each recominant strain and the negative control were prepared.

 Strain O.D. 600nm J13002 (1) 0.825 J13002 (2) 0.774 029A (1) 0.746 029A (2) 0.753 030A (1) 0.532 030A (2) 0.532

Cytoplasmic proteins were extracted using our standard protocol. And a standard curve for protein quantification was prepared.

Standard curve for total protein quantification.

The total protein of each sample was quantified using 20uL of cell extract, the results are shown below.

Total protein [ug]ug/uL
J130031.1081.555
029A (1)19.9740.999
030A (1)12.6100.630
029A (2)12.8540.782
030 (2)18.5780.929
P. Puitda9.7830.489

The aldehyde dehydrogenase activity was measured using the standard protocol and Dodecanal as substrate.

After the data treatment, the results that we obtained were the following:

J13002029A (1)029A (2)030A (1)030A (2)P. putida
Specific activitykat/mg8.604E-111.470E-102.853E-102.433E-102.912E-106.362E-10
U/mg5.162E-038.820E-031.712E-021.460E-021.747E-023.817E-02
Standard deviation 1.778E-126.187E-124.026E-113.539E-114.319E-113.361E-11
Relative to (J13002) 100.00%170.86%331.59%282.79%338.46%739.41%
Relative activity (P. putida) 13.52%23.11%44.84%38.25%45.78%100.00%
T-test vs J13002 -0.98270.95990.97640.99760.9976
T-test vs P. putida 0.99991.00000.99980.99741.0000-
Average activity [kat/mg] 8.604E-112.161E-10 2.673E-10 6.362E-10

You can download a file with our raw data, results anda summary here: File:TUDelft ALDH results.xls

#### Conclusion

Our results suggest that the recombinant strains E. coli 029A and E. coli 030A functionally express our biobricks, we couldn't prove in vivo activity. However, it is clear from the statistical analysis performed that the expression of the biobrick BBa_K398006 under the promoter-rbs combination BBa_J23100-BBa_J61117 increases the dodecanal dehydrogenase activity in E. coli cell extracts 2-fold; whereas the expression of the same protein using the part BBa_J13002 as promoter-rbs combo increases the same activity 3-fold. Moreover, the enzymatic activities measured for the constructs BBa_K398029 and BBa_K398030 were equivalent to 33.98% and 42.01% of the Pseudomonas putida aldehyde dehydrogenase activity, respectively.

In our resting cell experiment, apparently there is a decrease on the octanal peak, which may be due to the biological activity of our construct. However, it was not possible to see the formation of the expected product: octanoic acid. Other experiments like more resting cell assays (analyzing intracellular metabolites) or the use of C13 marked octanal may be useful in order to confirm and measure the in vivo biological activity of these parts.

• From the work published by Kato and co-workers in 2010 [1], we knew that the purified enzyme has an activity equal to 0.63 U/mg, and according to the same study the tetradecanal dehydrogenase activity is 73 times higher than the octanal dehydrogenase; from the figure 5a of the cited paper we inferred that the dodecanal dehydrogenase activity is around 50% of the tetradecanal activity. Thus, the dodecanal dehydrogenase should be around 36.5 times the activity of octanal dehydrogenase which gives 22.995 U/mg pure ALDH.
• The same number expressed in kat/mg equals to 4e-7 kat/mg pure ALDH. Our cell extracts have dodecanal dehydrogenase activities of 2.15e-10 kat/mg protein cell extract (029A) and 2.67 e-10 kat/mg protein cell extract (030A). If we substract the normal E. coli activity, the net activities given by our biobricks are 1.301e-10 kat/mg protein cell extract (029A) and 1.812e-10kat/mg protein cell extract (030A). Which means that our strains had produced 3.253e-4 mg pure ALDH/mg protein cell extract (029A) and 4.53e-4 mg pure ALDH/mg protein cell extract (030A), respectively. Assuming a 70%(w/w) of protein content in E. coli, that means that a strain carrying pSB1A2 with the biobricks BBa_K398030 and BBa_K398029 will produce 0.0317% (w/w) and 0.0228% (w/w) of their total weight as ALDH protein.

#### About our project and RBS characterization

• Originally, we decided to characterize the Anderson promoter family because we wanted to functionally express our proteins without stressing our cells. So far, with the biobrick BBa_K398029 we achieved an in vitro activity close to 34% of the activity reported for a natural alkane-degrading bateria. If someone else proves that our biobrick has the expected biological activity then that would mean that our design was successful.
• Nowadays, WE, as Synthetic Biologists, have the challenge of starting to produce parts that are being expressed in cells in the exact amount in order to confer biological activity. Over-expression (the standard protein expression method so far) is equal to waste; cells invest most of their resources for protein production (stressing the cells [2]); moreover, the production of inclusion bodies (aggregates of inactive protein) is reported when there is a high over-expression level [3]. This means that high levels of protein over-expression will give as output large quantities of protein without biological function.
• With this project, we wanted to give other teams an insight about how much of specific proteins should be expressed in a cell in order to confer biological activity. Questions that arose at the beginning of our project were: How much of a protein should be expressed in order to have biological activity? Which promoter-rbs combo should be used in order to achieve a successful expression of a biologically active protein?. During the design phase (first two months), we didn't find answers to these questions and we decided to take the initiative and give the first steps towards finding answers to our questions.
• Some people may think that we didn't succeed on proving that our biobricks confer biological activity, however we feel that with this study we are giving the first steps on the way of engineering pathways using standard parts and rational expression of proteins. Some numbers about biologically active protein were given, in order to confirm our statements more studies are required and we suggest to use BBa_K398029 as a starting point, ADH (BBa_K398018) is also a nice starting point because we confirmed that has biological activity; however its performance is really mediocre compared to a natural oil-degrading bacteria as Pseudomonas putida.

#### What would we measure if we had more time for this project?

Biological activity tests: C13-labeled Dodecanal degradation measurements or resting cell assays. More studies are required in order to prove the in vivo activity.

Fraction of Bt-ALDH expressed compared to the total amount of protein in the cell. We inferred the amount of ACTIVE Bt-ALDH in our cell extract, however this number is not accurate until we can measure the total amount of Bt-ALDH in the recombinant strain.

Expression of Bt-ALDH using other promoter-rbs combo. This will give us an insight about the optimum promoter-rbs combo required for the highest possible activity without causing cell stress.

If someone else reports that our numbers and statements are correct, then they will confirm by the very first time in the iGEM competition the amount of protein required for successful expression of an in vivo biologically active enzyme. We will look forward for anyone willing to do this job on 2011 ;-)

#### USEFUL LITERATURE AND REFERENCES

1. Kato T. et al. "Gene cloning and characterization of an aldehyde dehydrogenase from long-chain alkane-degrading Geobacillus thermoleovorans B23" Extremophiles (2010) 14:33-39.
2. http://mbel.kaist.ac.kr/lab/research/protein_en1.html
3. Hoffmann F. and Rinas U. "Stress Induced by Recombinant Protein Production in Escherichia coli" Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology, 2004, Vol. 89/2004, pp. 73-92.