Mutations enhancing the thermostability of β-glucosidase A of Bacillus polymyxa, a family 1 glycosyl hydrolase, have been obtained after hydroxylamine mutagenesis of a plasmid containing the bglA gene, transformation of Escherichia coli with the mutagenized plasmid, and identification of transformant colonies that showed β-glucosidase activity after a thermal treatment that inactivated the wild-type enzyme. Two additive mutations have been characterized that cause replacement of glutamate at position 96 by lysine and of methionine at position 416 by isoleucine respectively. The thermoresistant mutant enzymes showed increased resistance to other denaturing agents, such as pH and urea, while their kinetic parameters did not change. CD spectra indicated that the E96K replacement caused an increase in α-helix content. The observed effect of the M416I mutation is consistent with the lower content of cysteine and methionine found in family 1 enzymes of thermophilic species compared with similar ones from mesophilic organisms.

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