Lecithin-dependent thermolabile hemolysin (LDH) is a virulence factor excreted by Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a marine bacterium that causes important losses in shrimp farming. In this study, the function of LDH was investigated through its inhibition by metal ions (Mg2+, Ca2+, Mn2+, Co2+, Ni2+ and Cu2+) and chemical modification reagents: β-mercaptoethanol (βME), phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride (PMSF) and diethyl pyrocarbonate (DEPC). LDH was expressed in the Escherichia coli strain BL-21, purified under denaturing conditions, and the enzymatic activity was evaluated. Cu2+, Ni2+, Co2+ and Ca2+ at 1 mmol/L inhibited the LDH esterase activity by 20–95%, while Mg2+ and Mn2+ slightly increased its activity. Additionally, PMSF and DEPC at 1 mmol/L inhibited the enzymatic activity by 40% and 80%, respectively. Dose-response analysis showed that DEPC was the best-evaluated inhibitor (IC50 = 0.082 mmol/L), followed by Cu2+ > Co2+ > Ni2+ and PMSF (IC50 = 0.146–1.5 mmol/L). Multiple sequence alignment of LDH of V. parahaemolyticus against other Vibrio species showed that LDH has well-conserved GDSL and SGNH motifs, characteristic of the hydrolase/esterase superfamily. Additionally, the homology model showed that the conserved catalytic triad His-Ser-Asp was in the LDH active site. Our results showed that the enzymatic activity of LDH from V. parahaemolyticus was modulated by metal ions and chemical modification, which could be related to the interaction with catalytic amino acid residues such as Ser153 and/or His 393.
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