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Fungal genomes mining to discover novel sterol esterases and lipases as catalysts

Jorge Barriuso, Alicia Prieto and Maria Jesus Martínez*

Author Affiliations

Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Ramiro de Maeztu 9, 28040 Madrid, Spain

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BMC Genomics 2013, 14:712  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-712

Published: 18 October 2013



Sterol esterases and lipases are enzymes able to efficiently catalyze synthesis and hydrolysis reactions of both sterol esters and triglycerides and due to their versatility could be widely used in different industrial applications. Lipases with this ability have been reported in the yeast Candida rugosa that secretes several extracellular enzymes with a high level of sequence identity, although different substrate specificity. This versatility has also been found in the sterol esterases from the ascomycetes Ophiostoma piceae and Melanocarpus albomyces.


In this work we present an in silico search of new sterol esterase and lipase sequences from the genomes of environmental fungi. The strategy followed included identification and search of conserved domains from these versatile enzymes, phylogenetic studies, sequence analysis and 3D modeling of the selected candidates.


Six potential putative enzymes were selected and their kinetic properties and substrate selectivity are discussed on the basis of their similarity with previously characterized sterol esterases/lipases with known structures.

Hydrolases; Models; In silico; Fungal genomics; Candida rugosa; Ophiostoma piceae