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Open Access Research article

Characterization of a novel non-specific nuclease from thermophilic bacteriophage GBSV1

Qing Song and Xiaobo Zhang*

Author Affiliations

Key Laboratory of Marine Biogenetic Resources, Third Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration, Xiamen 361005, The People's Republic of China

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BMC Biotechnology 2008, 8:43  doi:10.1186/1472-6750-8-43

Published: 28 April 2008



Thermostable enzymes from thermophiles have attracted extensive studies. In this investigation, a nuclease-encoding gene (designated as GBSV1-NSN) was obtained from a thermophilic bacteriophage GBSV1 for the first time.


After recombinant expression in Escherichia coli, the purified GBSV1-NSN exhibited non-specific nuclease activity, being able to degrade various nucleic acids, including RNA, single-stranded DNA and double-stranded DNA that was circular or linear. Based on sequence analysis, the nuclease shared no homology with any known nucleases, suggesting that it was a novel nuclease. The characterization of the recombinant GBSV1-NSN showed that its optimal temperature and pH were 60°C and 7.5, respectively. The results indicated that the enzymatic activity was inhibited by enzyme inhibitors or detergents, such as ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid, citrate, dithiothreitol, β-mercaptoethanol, guanidine hydrochloride, urea and SDS. In contrast, the nuclease activity was enhanced by TritonX-100, Tween-20 or chaps to approximately 124.5% – 141.6%. The Km of GBSV1-NSN nuclease was 231, 61 and 92 μM, while its kcat was 1278, 241 and 300 s-1 for the cleavage of dsDNA, ssDNA and RNA, respectively.


Our study, therefore, presented a novel thermostable non-specific nuclease from thermophilic bacteriophage and its overexpression and purification for scientific research and applications.