- 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).
- 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.