- Pectins are a major dietary nutrient source for the human gut microbiota. The prominent gut microbe Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron was recently shown to encode the founding member (BT1017) of a new family of pectin methylesterases essential for the metabolism of the complex pectin rhamnogalacturonan-II (RG-II). However, biochemical and structural knowledge of this family is lacking. Here, we showed that BT1017 is critical for the metabolism of an RG-II–derived oligosaccharide ΔBT1017oligoB generated by a BT1017 deletion mutant (ΔBT1017) during growth on carbohydrate extract from apple juice.
- The enzymatic degradation of plant cell walls is an important biological process of increasing environmental and industrial significance. Xylan, a major component of the plant cell wall, consists of a backbone of β-1,4-xylose (Xylp) units that are often decorated with arabinofuranose (Araf) side chains. A large penta-modular enzyme, CtXyl5A, was shown previously to specifically target arabinoxylans. The mechanism of substrate recognition displayed by the enzyme, however, remains unclear. Here we report the crystal structure of the arabinoxylanase and the enzyme in complex with ligands.