Complete genome of a new Firmicutes species belonging to the dominant human colonic microbiota (‘Ruminococcus bicirculans’) reveals two chromosomes and a selective capacity to utilize plant glucans.
Wegmann, U., Louis, P., Goesmann, A., Henrissat, B., Duncan, S. H. & Flint, H. J. (2014). Environmental Microbiology, 16(9), 2879–2890.
The recently isolated bacterial strain 80/3 represents one of the most abundant 16S rRNA phylotypes detected in the healthy human large intestine and belongs to the Ruminococcaceae family of Firmicutes. The completed genome sequence reported here is the first for a member of this important family of bacteria from the human colon. The genome comprises two large chromosomes of 2.24 and 0.73 Mbp, leading us to propose the name Ruminococcus bicirculans for this new species. Analysis of the carbohydrate active enzyme complement suggests an ability to utilize certain hemicelluloses, especially β-glucans and xyloglucan, for growth that was confirmed experimentally. The enzymatic machinery enabling the degradation of cellulose and xylan by related cellulolytic ruminococci is however lacking in this species. While the genome indicated the capacity to synthesize purines, pyrimidines and all 20 amino acids, only genes for the synthesis of nicotinate, NAD+, NADP+ and coenzyme A were detected among the essential vitamins and co-factors, resulting in multiple growth requirements. In vivo, these growth factors must be supplied from the diet, host or other gut microorganisms. Other features of ecological interest include two type IV pilins, multiple extracytoplasmic function-sigma factors, a urease and a bile salt hydrolase.
Role of glycoside phosphorylases in mannose foraging by human gut bacteria.
Ladevèze, S., Tarquis, L., Cecchini, D. A., Bercovici, J., André, I., Topham, C. M., Morel, S., Laville, E., Monsan, P., Lombard, V., Henrissat, B. & Potocki-Véronèse, G. (2013). Journal of Biological Chemistry, 288(45), 32370-32383.
To metabolize both dietary fiber constituent carbohydrates and host glycans lining the intestinal epithelium, gut bacteria produce a wide range of carbohydrate-active enzymes, of which glycoside hydrolases are the main components. In this study, we describe the ability of phosphorylases to participate in the breakdown of human N-glycans, from an analysis of the substrate specificity of UhgbMP, a mannoside phosphorylase of the GH130 protein family discovered by functional metagenomics. UhgbMP is found to phosphorolyze β-D-Manp-1,4-β-D-GlcpNAc-1,4-D-GlcpNAc and is also a highly efficient enzyme to catalyze the synthesis of this precious N-glycan core oligosaccharide by reverse phosphorolysis. Analysis of sequence conservation within family GH130, mapped on a three-dimensional model of UhgbMP and supported by site-directed mutagenesis results, revealed two GH130 subfamilies and allowed the identification of key residues responsible for catalysis and substrate specificity. The analysis of the genomic context of 65 known GH130 sequences belonging to human gut bacteria indicates that the enzymes of the GH130_1 subfamily would be involved in mannan catabolism, whereas the enzymes belonging to the GH130_2 subfamily would rather work in synergy with glycoside hydrolases of the GH92 and GH18 families in the breakdown of N-glycans. The use of GH130 inhibitors as therapeutic agents or functional foods could thus be considered as an innovative strategy to inhibit N-glycan degradation, with the ultimate goal of protecting, or restoring, the epithelial barrier.
A revised architecture of primary cell walls based on biomechanical changes induced by substrate-specific endoglucanases.
Park, Y. B. & Cosgrove, D. J. (2012). Plant Physiology, 158(4), 1933-1943.
Xyloglucan is widely believed to function as a tether between cellulose microfibrils in the primary cell wall, limiting cell enlargement by restricting the ability of microfibrils to separate laterally. To test the biomechanical predictions of this “tethered network” model, we assessed the ability of cucumber (Cucumis sativus) hypocotyl walls to undergo creep (long-term, irreversible extension) in response to three family-12 endo-β-1,4-glucanases that can specifically hydrolyze xyloglucan, cellulose, or both. Xyloglucan-specific endoglucanase (XEG from Aspergillus aculeatus) failed to induce cell wall creep, whereas an endoglucanase that hydrolyzes both xyloglucan and cellulose (Cel12A from Hypocrea jecorina) induced a high creep rate. A cellulose-specific endoglucanase (CEG from Aspergillus niger) did not cause cell wall creep, either by itself or in combination with XEG. Tests with additional enzymes, including a family-5 endoglucanase, confirmed the conclusion that to cause creep, endoglucanases must cut both xyloglucan and cellulose. Similar results were obtained with measurements of elastic and plastic compliance. Both XEG and Cel12A hydrolyzed xyloglucan in intact walls, but Cel12A could hydrolyze a minor xyloglucan compartment recalcitrant to XEG digestion. Xyloglucan involvement in these enzyme responses was confirmed by experiments with Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) hypocotyls, where Cel12A induced creep in wild-type but not in xyloglucan-deficient (xxt1/xxt2) walls. Our results are incompatible with the common depiction of xyloglucan as a load-bearing tether spanning the 20- to 40-nm spacing between cellulose microfibrils, but they do implicate a minor xyloglucan component in wall mechanics. The structurally important xyloglucan may be located in limited regions of tight contact between microfibrils.