- 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.
- Encapsulated ferritins belong to the universally distributed ferritin superfamily, whose members function as iron detoxification and storage systems. Encapsulated ferritins have a distinct annular structure and must associate with an encapsulin nanocage to form a competent iron store that is capable of holding significantly more iron than classical ferritins. The catalytic mechanism of iron oxidation in the ferritin family is still an open question because of the differences in organization of the ferroxidase catalytic site and neighboring secondary metal-binding sites.
- The metabolism of carbohydrate polymers drives microbial diversity in the human gut microbiome. The selection pressures in this environment have spurred the evolution of a complex reservoir of microbial genes encoding carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes). Previously, we have shown that the human gut bacterium Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron (Bt) can depolymerize the most structurally complex glycan, the plant pectin rhamnogalacturonan II (RGII), commonly found in the human diet. Previous investigation of the RGII-degrading apparatus in Bt identified BT0997 as a new CAZyme family, classified as glycoside hydrolase 138 (GH138).