New developments in the measurement of α-amylase, endo-protease, β-glucanase and β-xylanase.
McCleary, B. V. & Monaghan, D. (2000). “Proceedings of the Second European Symposium on Enzymes in Grain Processing”, (M. Tenkanen, Ed.), VTT Information Service, pp. 31-38.
Over the past 8 years, we have been actively involved in the development of simple and reliable assay procedures, for the measurement of enzymes of interest to the cereals and related industries. In some instances, different procedures have been developed for the measurement of the same enzyme activity (e.g. α-amylase) in a range of different materials (e.g. malt, cereal grains and fungal preparations). The reasons for different procedures may depend on several factors, such as the need for sensitivity, ease of use, robustness of the substrate mixture, or the possibility for automation. In this presentation, we will present information on our most up-to-date procedures for the measurement of α-amylase, endo-protease, β-glucanase and β-xylanase, with special reference to the use of particular assay formats in particular applications.
Measurement of cereal α-Amylase: A new assay procedure.
McCleary, B. V. & Sheehan, H. (1987). Journal of Cereal Science, 6(3), 237-251.
A new procedure for the assay of cereal α-amylase has been developed. The substrate is a defined maltosaccharide with an α-linked nitrophenyl group at the reducing end of the chain, and a chemical blocking group at the non-reducing end. The substrate is completely resistant to attack by β-amylase, glucoamylase and α-glucosidase and thus forms the basis of a highly specific assay for α-amylase. The reaction mixture is composed of the substrate plus excess quantities of α-glucosidase and glucoamylase. Nitrophenyl-maltosaccharides released on action of α-amylase are instantaneously cleaved to glucose plus free p-nitrophenol by the glucoamylase and α-glucosidase, such that the rate of release of p-nitrophenol directly correlates with α-amylase activity. The assay procedure shows an excellent correlation with the Farrand, the Falling Number and the Phadebas α-amylase assay procedures.
A new procedure for the measurement of fungal and bacterial α-amylase.
Sheehan, H. & McCleary, B. V. (1988). Biotechnology Techniques, 2(4), 289-292.
A procedure for the measurement of fungal and bacterial α-amylase in crude culture filtrates and commercial enzyme preparations is described. The procedure employs end-blocked (non-reducing end) p-nitrophenyl maltoheptaoside in the presence of amyloglucosidase and α-glucosidase, and is absolutely specific for α-amylase. The assay procedure is simple, reliable and accurate.
An improved enzymic method for the measurement of starch damage in wheat flour.
Gibson, T. S., Al Qalla, H. & McCleary, B. V. (1992). Journal of Cereal Science, 15(1), 15-27.
An improved enzymic method for the determination of starch damage in wheat flour has been developed and characterized. The proposed method is simple and reliable, and enables up to 20 samples to be measured in duplicate in 2 h. A single assay takes approximately 40 min. The assay protocol is in two phases. In the first, the flour sample is incubated with purified fungal alpha-amylase to liberate damaged starch granules as soluble oligosaccharides. After centrifugation, the oligosaccharides in the supernatant are hydrolysed by amyloglucosidase to glucose in phase 2. The glucose is then quantified with a glucose oxidase/peroxidase reagent. The proposed method therefore avoids potential errors associated with existing standard assays, which employ unpurified amylase preparations and non-specific reducing group methods to quantify the hydrolytic products. Despite the use of purified assay components, the proposed starch damage method did not exhibit an absolute end-point to the action of alpha-amylase in phase 1. This was due to a low rate of hydrolysis of undamaged granules, and is a feature of enzymic methods for starch damage determination. Other amylolytic enzymes, including beta-amylase, isoamylase and pullulanase, and combinations of these enzymes, were evaluated as alternatives to alpha-amylase in the proposed method. These enzymes, when used alone, gave no benefits over the use of alpha-amylase. When used in combination with alpha-amylase, there was a synergistic action on undamaged granules. A test kit based on the assay format described in this paper is the subject of an international interlaboratory evaluation.
Measurement of α-amylase activity in white wheat flour, milled malt, and microbial enzyme preparations, using the ceralpha assay: Collaborative study.
McCleary, B. V., McNally, M., Monaghan, D. & Mugford, D. C. (2002). Journal of AOAC International, 85(5), 1096-1102.
This study was conducted to evaluate the method performance of a rapid procedure for the measurement of α-amylase activity in flours and microbial enzyme preparations. Samples were milled (if necessary) to pass a 0.5 mm sieve and then extracted with a buffer/salt solution, and the extracts were clarified and diluted. Aliquots of diluted extract (containing α-amylase) were incubated with substrate mixture under defined conditions of pH, temperature, and time. The substrate used was nonreducing end-blocked p-nitrophenyl maltoheptaoside (BPNPG7) in the presence of excess quantities of thermostable α-glucosidase. The blocking group in BPNPG7 prevents hydrolysis of this substrate by exo-acting enzymes such as amyloglucosidase, α-glucosidase, and β-amylase. When the substrate is cleaved by endo-acting α-amylase, the nitrophenyl oligosaccharide is immediately and completely hydrolyzed to p-nitrophenol and free glucose by the excess quantities of α-glucosidase present in the substrate mixture. The reaction is terminated, and the phenolate color developed by the addition of an alkaline solution is measured at 400 nm. Amylase activity is expressed in terms of Ceralpha units; 1 unit is defined as the amount of enzyme required to release 1 µmol p-nitrophenyl (in the presence of excess quantities of α-glucosidase) in 1 min at 40°C. In the present study, 15 laboratories analyzed 16 samples as blind duplicates. The analyzed samples were white wheat flour, white wheat flour to which fungal α-amylase had been added, milled malt, and fungal and bacterial enzyme preparations. Repeatability relative standard deviations ranged from 1.4 to 14.4%, and reproducibility relative standard deviations ranged from 5.0 to 16.7%.
Increasing the energy density of vegetative tissues by diverting carbon from starch to oil biosynthesis in transgenic Arabidopsis.
Sanjaya, Durrett, T. P., Weise, S. E. & Benning, C. (2011). Plant Biotechnology Journal, 9(8), 874-883.
Increasing the energy density of biomass by engineering the accumulation of triacylglycerols (TAGs) in vegetative tissues is synergistic with efforts to produce biofuels by conversion of lignocellulosic biomass. Typically, TAG accumulates in developing seeds, and little is known about the regulatory mechanisms and control factors preventing oil biosynthesis in vegetative tissues in most plants. Here, we engineered Arabidopsis thaliana to ectopically overproduce the transcription factor WRINKLED1 (WRI1) involved in the regulation of seed oil biosynthesis. Furthermore, we reduced the expression of APS1 encoding a major catalytic isoform of the small subunit of ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase involved in starch biosynthesis using an RNAi approach. The resulting AGPRNAi-WRI1 lines accumulated less starch and more hexoses. In addition, these lines produced 5.8-fold more oil in vegetative tissues than plants with WRI1 or AGPRNAi alone. Abundant oil droplets were visible in vegetative tissues. TAG molecular species contained long-chain fatty acids, similar to those found in seed oils. In AGPRNAi-WRI1 lines, the relative expression level of sucrose synthase 2 was considerably elevated and correlated with the level of sugars. The relative expression of the genes encoding plastidic proteins involved in de novo fatty acid synthesis, biotin carboxyl carrier protein isoform 2 and acyl carrier protein 1, was also elevated. The relative contribution of TAG compared to starch to the overall energy density increased 9.5-fold in one AGPRNAi-WRI1 transgenic line consistent with altered carbon partitioning from starch to oil.
Characterisation of the substituent distribution in hydroxypropylated potato amylopectin starch.
Richardson, S., Nilsson, G. S., Bergquist, K. E., Gorton, L. & Mischnick, P. (2000). Carbohydrate Research, 328(3), 365-373.
The distribution of substituents in hydroxypropylated potato amylopectin starch (amylose deficient) modified in a slurry of granular starch (HPPAPg) or in a polymer ‘solution’ of dissolved starch (HPPAPs), was investigated. The molar substitution (MS) was determined by three different methods: proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy, gas-liquid chromatography (GLC) with mass spectrometry, and a colourimetric method. The MS values obtained by 1H NMR spectroscopy were higher than those obtained by GLC–mass spectrometry analysis and colourimetry. The relative ratio of 2-, 3-, and 6-substitution, as well as un-, mono-, and disubstitution in the anhydroglucose unit (AGU) were determined by GLC–mass spectrometry analysis. Results obtained showed no significant difference in molar distribution of hydroxypropyl groups in the AGU between the two derivatives. For analysis of the distribution pattern along the polymer chain, the starch derivatives were hydrolysed by enzymes with different selectivities. Debranching of the polymers indicated that more substituents were located in close vicinity to branching points in HPPAPg than in HPPAPs. Simultaneous α-amylase and amyloglucosidase hydrolysis of HPPAPg liberated more unsubstituted glucose units than the hydrolysis of HPPAPs, indicating a more heterogeneous distribution of substituents in HPPAPg.
Engineering starch accumulation by manipulation of phosphate metabolism of starch.
Weise, S. E., Aung, K., Jarou, Z. J., Mehrshahi, P., Li, Z., Hardy, A. C., Carr, D. J. & Sharkey, T. D. (2012). Plant Biotechnology Journal, 10(5), 545-554.
A new understanding of leaf starch degradation has emerged in the last 10 years. It has been shown that starch phosphorylation and dephosphorylation are critical components of this process. Glucan, water dikinase (GWD) (and phosphoglucan, water dikinase) adds phosphate to starch, and phosphoglucan phosphatase (SEX4) removes these phosphates. To explore the use of this metabolism to manipulate starch accumulation, Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plants were engineered by introducing RNAi constructs designed to reduce expression of AtGWD and AtSEX4. The timing of starch build-up was altered with ethanol-inducible and senescence-induced gene promoters. Ethanol induction of RNAi lines reduced transcript for AtGWD and AtSEX4 by 50%. The transgenic lines had seven times more starch than wild type at the end of the dark period but similar growth rates and total biomass. Elevated leaf starch content in maize leaves was engineered by making an RNAi construct against a gene in maize that appeared to be homologous to AtGWD. The RNAi construct was expressed using the constitutive ubiquitin promoter. Leaf starch content at the end of a night period in engineered maize plants was 20-fold higher than in untransformed plants with no impact on total plant biomass. We conclude that plants can be engineered to accumulate starch in the leaves with little impact on vegetative biomass.
Spatial division of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase and nitrate reductase activity and its regulation by cytokinins in CAM-induced leaves of Guzmania monostachia (Bromeliaceae).
Pereira, P. N., Purgatto, E. & Mercier, H. (2013). Journal of Plant Physiology, 170(12), 1067-1074.
Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is a physiological adaptation of plants that live in stress environment conditions. A good model of CAM modulation is the epiphytic bromeliad, Guzmania monostachia, which switches between two photosynthetic pathways (C3–CAM) in response to different environmental conditions, such as light stress and water availability. Along the leaf length a gradient of acidity can be observed when G. Monostachia plants are kept under water deficiency. Previous studies showed that the apical portions of the leaves present higher expression of CAM, while the basal regions exhibit lower expression of this photosynthetic pathway. The present study has demonstrated that it is possible to induce the CAM pathway in detached leaves of G. monostachia kept under water deficit for 7 d. Also, it was evaluated whether CAM expression can be modulated in detached leaves of Guzmania and whether some spatial separation between NO3- reduction and CO2 fixation occurs in basal and apical portions of the leaf. In addition, we analyzed the involvement of endogenous cytokinins (free and ribosylated forms) as possible signal modulating both NO3- reduction and CO2 fixation along the leaf blade of this bromeliad. Besides demonstrating a clear spatial and functional separation of carbon and nitrogen metabolism along G. monostachia leaves, the results obtained also indicated a probable negative correlation between endogenous free cytokinins – zeatin (Z) and isopentenyladenine (iP) – concentration and PEPC activity in the apical portions of G. monostachia leaves kept under water deficit. On the other hand, a possible positive correlation between endogenous Z and iP levels and NR activity in basal portions of drought-exposed and control leaves was verified. Together with the observations presented above, results obtained with exogenous cytokinins treatments, strongly suggest that free cytokinins might act as a stimulatory signal involved in NR activity regulation and as a negative regulator of PEPC activity in CAM-induced leaves of G. monostachia during a diel cycle.
Nitrogen metabolism in leaves of a tank epiphytic bromeliad: Characterization of a spatial and functional division.
Takahashi, C. A. & Mercier, H. (2011). Journal of Plant Physiology, 168(11), 1208-1216.
The leaf is considered the most important vegetative organ of tank epiphytic bromeliads due to its ability to absorb and assimilate nutrients. However, little is known about the physiological characteristics of nutrient uptake and assimilation. In order to better understand the mechanisms utilized by some tank epiphytic bromeliads to optimize the nitrogen acquisition and assimilation, a study was proposed to verify the existence of a differential capacity to assimilate nitrogen in different leaf portions. The experiments were conducted using young plants of Vriesea gigantea. A nutrient solution containing NO3-/NH4+ or urea as the sole nitrogen source was supplied to the tank of these plants and the activities of urease, nitrate reductase (NR), glutamine synthetase (GS) and glutamate dehydrogenase (NADH-GDH) were quantified in apical and basal leaf portions after 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 24 and 48 h. The endogenous ammonium and urea contents were also analyzed. Independent of the nitrogen sources utilized, NR and urease activities were higher in the basal portions of leaves in all the period analyzed. On the contrary, GS and GDH activities were higher in apical part. It was also observed that the endogenous ammonium and urea had the highest contents detected in the basal region. These results suggest that the basal portion was preferentially involved in nitrate reduction and urea hydrolysis, while the apical region could be the main area responsible for ammonium assimilation through the action of GS and GDH activities. Moreover, it was possible to infer that ammonium may be transported from the base, to the apex of the leaves. In conclusion, it was suggested that a spatial and functional division in nitrogen absorption and NH4+ assimilation between basal and apical leaf areas exists, ensuring that the majority of nitrogen available inside the tank is quickly used by bromeliad's leaves.
Residual amylopectin structures of amylase-treated wheat starch slurries reflect amylase mode of action.
Leman, P., Goesaert, H. & Delcour, J. A. (2009). Food Hydrocolloids, 23(1), 153-164.
Some amylases can delay bread staling and/or starch (amylopectin) retrogradation, but the molecular basis of this effect remains little understood. In order to increase our insight in these aspects of amylase functionality, several amylases were added in a pure wheat-starch-containing model system and subjected to a heating step corresponding to that in the baking phase in bread making. Next, the effects of the limited amylolytic degradation on the rapid visco analyser (RVA) rheological properties of starch were studied and the accompanying changes in the amylopectin molecular properties (such as chain length distribution) investigated. The different amylases clearly affected the molecular structure of amylopectin to a different extent, which could be related to their mode of action and the enzyme activity levels added. Bacillus subtilis and Aspergillus oryzae α-amylases had only a limited impact on the side chain distribution of the amylopectin molecules, presumably due to their preferential hydrolysis of internal chain segments and the low enzyme activity added in the RVA. In contrast, porcine pancreatic α-amylase and Bacillus stearothermophilus maltogenic α-amylase, both with higher degree of multiple attack and used at higher enzyme activity levels, had a marked influence on the amylopectin molecular structure. More in particular, under the test conditions, the maltogenic α-amylase reduced the average chain length of the outer chains by 50%. Presumably, this will affect amylopectin retrogradation to a large extent. The results contribute to a better understanding of amylase functionality in starchy foods.
Hydrolysis of amylopectin by amylolytic enzymes: level of inner chain attack as an important analytical differentiation criterion.
Goesaert, H., Bijttebier, A. & Delcour, J. A. (2010). Carbohydrate Research, 345(3), 397-401.
Differences in amylase action pattern on amylopectin were demonstrated by the relation between the decrease in potassium iodide–iodine binding of waxy maize starch and the increase in reducing value during hydrolysis, as expressed by the RV80 value (i.e., the reducing value for a potassium iodide–iodine binding value of 80% of that of the starting material). In the initial stages of the hydrolysis, the ratio of the increase in the level of reducing polysaccharides to the increase in the total level of reducing sugars formed during amylolysis of amylopectin can be considered as a measure of the level of inner chain attack (LICA) in the overall hydrolysis of the amylopectin structure and correlated with the respective RV80 value. Bacillus amyloliquefaciens α-amylase and Aspergillus oryzae α-amylase, with the lowest RV80 and the highest LICA values, hydrolysed the inner chains of amylopectin to a greater extent than did porcine pancreatic α-amylase. In the initial stages of hydrolysis, Bacillus stearothermophilus maltogenic amylase, like the Bacillus cereus β-amylase, did not display any significant degree of internal hydrolysis of amylopectin, in line with the high RV80 and very low LICA values for these enzymes. However, at the later stages of hydrolysis, the maltogenic amylase probably exhibited a significant degree of internal hydrolysis of amylopectin, which itself seems to depend on temperature. The temperature dependence of the hydrolysis pattern of this enzyme is relevant for interpretation of its action as antifirming enzyme in bread-making applications.
Hydrolysis of Maltoheptaose in Flow through Silicon Wafer Microreactors Containing Immobilised α‐Amylase and Glycoamylase.
Melander, C., Tüting, W., Bengtsson, M., Laurell, T., Mischnick, P. & Gorton, L. (2006). Starch‐Stärke, 58(5), 231-242.
In this study a silicon micro immobilised enzyme reactor (µIMER) has been applied for hydrolysis of maltoheptaose as a model maltodextrin and starch using immobilised α-amylase (from Aspergillus oryzae) and glycoamylase (from Aspergillus niger). The influence of several parameters was investigated such as immobilisation chemistry, buffer constituents, pH, temperature, flow rate and substrate concentration. The conversion efficiency profile of the substrate was measured and the long-term stability of the reactor was tested. For separation and detection of the formed hydrolysis products, high-performance anion-exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection (HPAEC-PAD) was used. The results show that the µIMERs can also be used for hydrolysis of starch and also additionally be connected directly on-line with, e.g., liquid chromatography, making it possible to perform on-line characterisation and analysis of starch hydrolysis products.
Proteins from multiple metabolic pathways associate with starch biosynthetic enzymes in high molecular weight complexes: a model for regulation of carbon allocation in maize amyloplasts.
Hennen-Bierwagen, T. A., Lin, Q., Grimaud, F., Planchot, V., Keeling, P. L., James, M. G. & Myers, A. M. (2009). Plant Physiology, 149(3), 1541-1559.
Starch biosynthetic enzymes from maize (Zea mays) and wheat (Triticum aestivum) amyloplasts exist in cell extracts in high molecular weight complexes; however, the nature of those assemblies remains to be defined. This study tested the interdependence of the maize enzymes starch synthase IIa (SSIIa), SSIII, starch branching enzyme IIb (SBEIIb), and SBEIIa for assembly into multisubunit complexes. Mutations that eliminated any one of those proteins also prevented the others from assembling into a high molecular mass form of approximately 670 kD, so that SSIII, SSIIa, SBEIIa, and SBEIIb most likely all exist together in the same complex. SSIIa, SBEIIb, and SBEIIa, but not SSIII, were also interdependent for assembly into a complex of approximately 300 kD. SSIII, SSIIa, SBEIIa, and SBEIIb copurified through successive chromatography steps, and SBEIIa, SBEIIb, and SSIIa coimmunoprecipitated with SSIII in a phosphorylation-dependent manner. SBEIIa and SBEIIb also were retained on an affinity column bearing a specific conserved fragment of SSIII located outside of the SS catalytic domain. Additional proteins that copurified with SSIII in multiple biochemical methods included the two known isoforms of pyruvate orthophosphate dikinase (PPDK), large and small subunits of ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase, and the sucrose synthase isoform SUS-SH1. PPDK and SUS-SH1 required SSIII, SSIIa, SBEIIa, and SBEIIb for assembly into the 670-kD complex. These complexes may function in global regulation of carbon partitioning between metabolic pathways in developing seeds.