- The sugars streptose and dihydrohydroxystreptose (DHHS) are unique to the bacteria Streptomyces griseus and Coxiella burnetii, respectively. Streptose forms the central moiety of the antibiotic streptomycin, while DHHS is found in the O-antigen of the zoonotic pathogen C. burnetii. Biosynthesis of these sugars has been proposed to follow a similar path to that of TDP-rhamnose, catalyzed by the enzymes RmlA, RmlB, RmlC, and RmlD, but the exact mechanism is unclear. Streptose and DHHS biosynthesis unusually requires a ring contraction step that could be performed by orthologs of RmlC or RmlD.
- 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 6-deoxy sugar l-rhamnose (l-Rha) is found widely in plant and microbial polysaccharides and natural products. The importance of this and related compounds in host–pathogen interactions often means that l-Rha plays an essential role in many organisms. l-Rha is most commonly biosynthesized as the activated sugar nucleotide uridine 5′-diphospho-β-l-rhamnose (UDP-β-l-Rha) or thymidine 5′-diphospho-β-l-rhamnose (TDP-β-l-Rha). Enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of these sugar nucleotides have been studied in some detail in bacteria and plants, but the activated form of l-Rha and the corresponding biosynthetic enzymes have yet to be explored in algae.
- 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).
- Glycoside phosphorylases (GPs) catalyze the phosphorolysis of glycans into the corresponding sugar 1-phosphates and shortened glycan chains. Given the diversity of natural β-(1→3)-glucans and their wide range of biotechnological applications, the identification of enzymatic tools that can act on β-(1→3)-glucooligosaccharides is an attractive area of research. GP activities acting on β-(1→3)-glucooligosaccharides have been described in bacteria, the photosynthetic excavate Euglena gracilis, and the heterokont Ochromonas spp.
- Sialic acids are a family of more than 50 structurally distinct acidic sugars on the surface of all vertebrate cells where they terminate glycan chains and are exposed to many interactions with the surrounding environment. In particular, sialic acids play important roles in cell–cell and host–pathogen interactions. The sialic acids or related nonulosonic acids have been observed in Deuterostome lineages, Eubacteria, and Archaea but are notably absent from plants. However, the structurally related C8 acidic sugar 3-deoxy-d-manno-2-octulosonic acid (Kdo) is present in Gram-negative bacteria and plants as a component of bacterial lipopolysaccharide and pectic rhamnogalacturonan II in the plant cell wall.
- Glycoside phosphorylases (EC 2.4.x.x) carry out the reversible phosphorolysis of glucan polymers, producing the corresponding sugar 1-phosphate and a shortened glycan chain. β-1,3-Glucan phosphorylase activities have been reported in the photosynthetic euglenozoan Euglena gracilis, but the cognate protein sequences have not been identified to date. Continuing our efforts to understand the glycobiology of E. gracilis, we identified a candidate phosphorylase sequence, designated EgP1, by proteomic analysis of an enriched cellular protein lysate.