Xylose reductases catalyse the initial reaction in the xylose utilisation pathway, the NAD(P)H+H+ dependent reduction of xylose to xylitol. In this work, the xylose reductase gene from Candida tenuis CBS 4435 was cloned and successfully expressed in E. coli. From the purified and partially sequenced protein primers were deduced for PCR. The fragment obtained was used for Southern blot analysis and screening of a subgenomic library. The clone containing the open reading frame was sequenced; the gene consisted of 969 nucleotides coding for a 322 amino acids protein with a molecular mass of 36 kDa. Putative regulatory signals were identified with the help of a Saccharomyces cerevisiae regulatory sequence database. In order to express the xylose reductase in E. coli, the gene was placed under positive and negative control. At low temperatures, the xylose reductase was expressed in soluble and active form up to about 10% of the soluble protein; with rising temperatures formation of visible inclusion bodies occurred. In refolding experiments we were able to recover the major portion of xylose reductase activity from the pellet fraction.
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