In the first step of this study, type 2 isopentenyl diphosphate isomerase (IDI2) from Pyrococcus furiosus (pf-IDI2), a hyperthermophilic microorganism, was cloned and overexpressed in E. coli. After purification, hyperthermophilic behavior of this protein was approached by means of enzymatic assays and thermal denaturation studies. Compared with the mesophilic Streptococcus pneumoniae IDI2, which unfolds and looses activity above 50 degrees C, pf-IDI2 is still folded and active at 80 degrees C. Molecular modeling was applied, in a parallel step, to understand the molecular basis of thermal stability. Comparison of IDI2 from S. pneumoniae, T. thermophilus, and P. furiosus suggested that additional charged residues present in the hyperthermophilic enzyme might contribute to its higher thermal stability. This could increase the number of salt bridges between monomers of IDI2 in P. furiosus enzyme and, hence, decrease flexibility of loops or N-terminal segment, thereby enhancing its thermal stability.
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.