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Title: Cloning, expression, characterization and application of cyanase from a thermophilic fungus Thermomyces lanuginosus SSBP
Authors: Ranjan, Bibhuti 
Issue Date: 2018
Abstract: Rapid industrialization and proliferative development of chemical and mining industries have resulted in increased global pollution and environment deterioration, due to the release of numerous toxic substances. This has extreme relevance in the South African context due to the high amount of cyanide used by local mines in comparison to that utilized globally. This has created the need for the development of novel approaches viz., using microbial enzymes for its remediation because of lower process times, lower energy requirements, and their cost-effective, nontoxic and eco-friendly characteristics. From previous work in our lab, the whole genome sequencing and secretome analysis of the industrially-important fungus Thermomyces lanuginosus SSBP revealed the presence of a cyanate hydratase gene and enzyme, respectively. Cyanate hydratase detoxifies cyanate in a bicarbonate-dependent reaction to produce ammonia and carbon dioxide. The cyanate hydratase gene (Tl-Cyn) from this fungus was therefore cloned, overexpressed, purified, characterized and its potential in cyanate detoxification has also been evaluated. The recombinant cyanate hydratase (rTl-Cyn) showed high catalytic efficiency, suggesting that it could be used for bioremediation applications. Though, cyanate hydratase catalyzes the decomposition of cyanate, the requirement of bicarbonate is a major drawback for its effective utilization in large-scale applications. Hence, a novel strategy was developed to limit the bicarbonate requirement in cyanate remediation, by the combinatorial use of two recombinant enzymes viz., cyanate hydratase (rTl-Cyn) and carbonic anhydrase (rTl-CA) from T. lanuginosus. This integrative approach resulted in the complete degradation of cyanate using 80% less bicarbonate, compared to the cyanate hydratase alone. In addition, co-immobilization of these recombinant enzymes onto magnetic nanoparticles and evaluation of their potential in bio-remediation of cyanurated wastes together with their reusability resulted in more than 80% of cyanate detoxification in wastewater samples after 10 cycles. Another novel strategy was also developed for the simultaneous removal of heavy metals and cyanate from synthetic wastewater samples, by immobilizing the rTl-Cyn on magnetic multi- walled carbon nanotubes (m-MWCNT-rTl-Cyn). The m-MWCNT-rTl-Cyn simultaneously reduced the concentration of chromium (Cr), iron (Fe), lead (Pb) and copper (Cu) by 39.31, 35.53, 34.48 and 29.63%, respectively, as well as the concentration of cyanate by ≥85%. The crystal structure of Tl-Cyn in complex with inhibitors malonate or formate at 2.2 Å resolution was solved for the first time to elucidate the molecular mechanism of cyanate hydratase action. This structure enabled the creation of a mutant enzyme with ~1.3-fold enhanced catalytic activity as compared to the wild-type Tl-Cyn. In addition, the active site region of Tl-Cyn was found to be highly conserved among fungal cyanases. Information from the 3D structure could enabled the creation of novel fungal cyanases, which may have potential for biotechnological applications, biotransformation and bioremediation.
Description: Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy In Biotechnology, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2018.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Applied Sciences)

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