Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are a family of complex polysaccharides involved in a diversity of biological processes, ranging from cell signaling to blood coagulation. Chondroitin sulfate (CS) and dermatan sulfate (DS) comprise a biologically important subset of GAGs. Two of the important lyases that degrade CS/DS, chondroitinase AC (EC 18.104.22.168) and chondroitinase B (no EC number), have been isolated and cloned from Flavobacterium heparinum. In this study, we outline an improved methodology for the recombinant expression and purification of these chondroitinases, thus enabling the functional characterization of the recombinant form of the enzymes for the first time. Utilizing an N-terminal 6x histidine tag, the recombinant chondroitinases were produced by two unique expression systems, each of which can be purified to homogeneity in a single chromatographic step. The products of exhaustive digestion of chondroitin-4SO(4) and chondroitin-6SO(4) with chondroitinase AC and dermatan sulfate with chondroitinase B were analyzed by strong-anion exchange chromatography and a novel reverse-polarity capillary electrophoretic technique. In addition, the Michaelis-Menten parameters were determined for these enzymes. With chondroitin-4SO(4) as the substrate, the recombinantly expressed chondroitinase AC has a K(m) of 0.8 microM and a k(cat) of 234 s(-1). This is the first report of kinetic parameters for chondroitinase AC with this substrate. With chondroitin-6SO(4) as the substrate, the enzyme has a K(m) of 0.6 microM and a k(cat) of 480 s(-1). Recombinantly expressed chondroitinase B has a K(m) of 4.6 microM and a k(cat) of 190 s(-1) for dermatan sulfate as its substrate. Efficient recombinant expression of the chondroitinases will facilitate the structure-function characterization of these enzymes and allow for the development of the chondroitinases as enzymatic tools for the fine characterization and sequencing of CS/DS.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.