Site-Specific Mutagenesis of the gshI Gene for Increasing the Activity of ${\gamma}$-Glutamylcysteine Synthetase in Escherichia coli K-12

  • Kwak, Joon-Hyeok (Graduate School of Biotechnology, Korea University) ;
  • Nam, Yong-Suk (Graduate School of Biotechnology, Korea University) ;
  • Lee, Se-Yong (Graduate School of Biotechnology, Korea University)
  • Received : 1998.01.20
  • Published : 1998.05.31


The gshI gene from the Escherichia coli K-12 strain codes for ${\gamma}-glutamylcysteine$ synthetase which mediates the rate-limiting step of glutathione biosynthesis. The isolated gshI gene from E. coli K-12 has an unusual translation initiation codon, UUG. The 494th amino acid is Ala rather than Gly which was found in a mutant strain E. coli B. In order to improve the translational rate of the gshI gene of E. coli K-12, the initiation codon, UUG, was changed to the usual AUG codon by the site-specific mutagenesis. This change has resulted in a 53% increase of ${\gamma}-glutamylcysteine$ synthetase activity. The enzyme activity was also improved by replacing $Ala^{494}$ with Val (A494V) or Leu (A494L). The replacement of $Ser^{495}$ with Thr (S495T) also resulted in a 62% increase of the enzyme activity. Therefore, the specific activity of ${\gamma}-glutamylcysteine$ synthetase was increased with the increasing chain length of the aliphathic amino acid at the site of the 494th amino acid (Ala<$Val{\leq}Leu$).