- The human gut microbiota utilizes complex carbohydrates as major nutrients. The requirement for efficient glycan degrading systems exerts a major selection pressure on this microbial community. Thus, we propose that this microbial ecosystem represents a substantial resource for discovering novel carbohydrate active enzymes. To test this hypothesis we screened the potential enzymatic functions of hypothetical proteins encoded by genes of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron that were up-regulated by arabinogalactan proteins or AGPs.
- Glycans are major nutrients available to the human gut microbiota. The Bacteroides are generalist glycan degraders, and this function is mediated largely by polysaccharide utilization loci (PULs). The genomes of several Bacteroides species contain a PUL, PUL1,6-β-glucan, that was predicted to target mixed linked plant 1,3;1,4-β-glucans. To test this hypothesis we characterized the proteins encoded by this locus in Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, a member of the human gut microbiota. We show here that PUL1,6-β-glucan does not orchestrate the degradation of a plant polysaccharide but targets a fungal cell wall glycan, 1,6-β-glucan, which is a growth substrate for the bacterium.
- 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.
- Background: A cohort of a family of mannose phosphorylases lack phosphate binding residues, suggesting that they display non-phosphorylase activities.Results: The non-phosphorylase enzymes were shown to be β-mannosidases.Conclusion: Replacing basic phosphate binding residues with carboxylic amino acids converts mannoside phosphorylases into glycoside hydrolases.Significance: Functional phylogeny can be used to distinguish between closely related glycan phosphorylases and glycoside hydrolases.