A fibrolytic potential in the human ileum mucosal microbiota revealed by functional metagenomics.
Patrascu, O., Béguet-Crespel, F., Marinelli, L., Le Chatelier, E., Abraham, A., Leclerc, M., Klopp, C., Terrapon, N., Henrissat, B., Blottière, H. M., Doré, J. & Christel Béra-Maillet. (2017). Scientific Reports, 7, 40248.
The digestion of dietary fibers is a major function of the human intestinal microbiota. So far this function has been attributed to the microorganisms inhabiting the colon, and many studies have focused on this distal part of the gastrointestinal tract using easily accessible fecal material. However, microbial fermentations, supported by the presence of short-chain fatty acids, are suspected to occur in the upper small intestine, particularly in the ileum. Using a fosmid library from the human ileal mucosa, we screened 20,000 clones for their activities against carboxymethylcellulose and xylans chosen as models of the major plant cell wall (PCW) polysaccharides from dietary fibres. Eleven positive clones revealed a broad range of CAZyme encoding genes from Bacteroides and Clostridiales species, as well as Polysaccharide Utilization Loci (PULs). The functional glycoside hydrolase genes were identified, and oligosaccharide break-down products examined from different polysaccharides including mixed-linkage β-glucans. CAZymes and PULs were also examined for their prevalence in human gut microbiome. Several clusters of genes of low prevalence in fecal microbiome suggested they belong to unidentified strains rather specifically established upstream the colon, in the ileum. Thus, the ileal mucosa-associated microbiota encompasses the enzymatic potential for PCW polysaccharide degradation in the small intestine.
Arsenal of plant cell wall degrading enzymes reflects host preference among plant pathogenic fungi.
King, B. C., Waxman, K. D., Nenni, N. V., Walker, L. P., Bergstrom, G. C. & Gibson, D. M. (2011). Biotechnol Biofuels, 4(4).
Background: The discovery and development of novel plant cell wall degrading enzymes is a key step towards more efficient depolymerization of polysaccharides to fermentable sugars for the production of liquid transportation biofuels and other bioproducts. The industrial fungus Trichoderma reesei is known to be highly cellulolytic and is a major industrial microbial source for commercial cellulases, xylanases and other cell wall degrading enzymes. However, enzyme-prospecting research continues to identify opportunities to enhance the activity of T. reesei enzyme preparations by supplementing with enzymatic diversity from other microbes. The goal of this study was to evaluate the enzymatic potential of a broad range of plant pathogenic and non-pathogenic fungi for their ability to degrade plant biomass and isolated polysaccharides. Results: Large-scale screening identified a range of hydrolytic activities among 348 unique isolates representing 156 species of plant pathogenic and non-pathogenic fungi. Hierarchical clustering was used to identify groups of species with similar hydrolytic profiles. Among moderately and highly active species, plant pathogenic species were found to be more active than non-pathogens on six of eight substrates tested, with no significant difference seen on the other two substrates. Among the pathogenic fungi, greater hydrolysis was seen when they were tested on biomass and hemicellulose derived from their host plants (commelinoid monocot or dicot). Although T. reesei has a hydrolytic profile that is highly active on cellulose and pretreated biomass, it was less active than some natural isolates of fungi when tested on xylans and untreated biomass. Conclusions: Several highly active isolates of plant pathogenic fungi were identified, particularly when tested on xylans and untreated biomass. There were statistically significant preferences for biomass type reflecting the monocot or dicot host preference of the pathogen tested. These highly active fungi are promising targets for identification and characterization of novel cell wall degrading enzymes for industrial applications.
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.
Synergism between cucumber α-expansin, fungal endoglucanase and pectin lyase.
Wei, W., Yang, C., Luo, J., Lu, C., Wu, Y. & Yuan, S. (2010). Journal of Plant Physiology, 167(14), 1204-1210.
Several recombinant fungal enzymes (endoglucanase and pectinase) were studied for their interactions with α-expansin in cell wall extension and polysaccharide degradation. Both Cel12A and Cel5A were able to hydrolyze cellulose CMC-Na and mixed-linkage β-glucan. In contrast to Cel5A, Cel12A could also hydrolyze xyloglucan and induce wall extension of cucumber hypocotyls in an in vitro assay. Combining α-expansin, even at high concentrations, with Cel12A did not enhance the maximum/final wall extension rate induced by Cel12A alone. These results strongly suggest that modification/degradation of the xyloglucan molecule/network is the key for cell wall extension, and α-expansin and Cel12A may share the same acting site in the substrate. Pectinase (Pel1, a pectin lyase) enhanced α-expansin-induced wall extension in a concentration-dependent manner, suggesting that the pectin network may normally regulate accessibility of expansin to the xyloglucan–cellulose complex. α-Expansin enhanced Cel12A's hydrolytic activity on cellulose CMC-Na but not on xyloglucan and β-glucan. Expansin did not affect Cel5A's hydrolytic activity. Interestingly, expansin also enhanced Pel1's activity on degrading high esterified pectin. A potential explanation for why expansin could synergistically interact with only certain enzymes on specific polysaccharides is discussed. Additional results also suggested that cell wall swelling may not be a significant event during the action of expansin and hydrolases.
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.
Structural basis for entropy-driven cellulose binding by a type-A cellulose-binding module (CBM) and bacterial expansin.
Georgelis, N., Yennawar, N. H. & Cosgrove, D. J. (2012). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(37), 14830-14835.
Components of modular cellulases, type-A cellulose-binding modules (CBMs) bind to crystalline cellulose and enhance enzyme effectiveness, but structural details of the interaction are uncertain. We analyzed cellulose binding by EXLX1, a bacterial expansin with ability to loosen plant cell walls and whose domain D2 has type-A CBM characteristics. EXLX1 strongly binds to crystalline cellulose via D2, whereas its affinity for soluble cellooligosaccharides is weak. Calorimetry indicated cellulose binding was largely entropically driven. We solved the crystal structures of EXLX1 complexed with cellulose-like oligosaccharides to find that EXLX1 binds the ligands through hydrophobic interactions of three linearly arranged aromatic residues in D2. The crystal structures revealed a unique form of ligand-mediated dimerization, with the oligosaccharide sandwiched between two D2 domains in opposite polarity. This report clarifies the molecular target of expansin and the specific molecular interactions of a type-A CBM with cellulose.
Biochemical and molecular characterization of secreted α-xylosidase from Aspergillus niger.
Scott-Craig, J. S., Borrusch, M. S., Banerjee, G., Harvey, C. M. & Walton, J. D. (2011). Journal of Biological Chemistry, 286(50), 42848-42854.
α-Linked xylose is a major component of xyloglucans in the cell walls of higher plants. An α-xylosidase (AxlA) was purified from a commercial enzyme preparation from Aspergillus niger, and the encoding gene was identified. The protein is a member of glycosyl hydrolase family 31. It was active on p-nitrophenyl-α-D-xyloside, isoprimeverose, xyloglucan heptasaccharide (XXXG), and tamarind xyloglucan. When expressed in Pichia pastoris, AxlA had activity comparable to the native enzyme on pNPα-X and IP despite apparent hyperglycosylation. The pH optimum of AxlA was between 3.0 and 4.0. AxlA together with β-glucosidase depolymerized xyloglucan heptasaccharide. A combination of AxlA, β-glucosidase, xyloglucanase, and β-glucosidase in the optimal proportions of 51:5:19:25 or 59:5:11:25 could completely depolymerize tamarind XG to free Glc or Xyl, respectively. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first characterization of a secreted microbial α-xylosidase. Secreted α-xylosidases appear to be rare in nature, being absent from other tested commercial enzyme mixtures and from the genomes of most filamentous fungi.
Restoration of mature etiolated cucumber hypocotyl cell wall susceptibility to expansin by pretreatment with fungal pectinases and EGTA in vitro.
Zhao, Q., Yuan, S., Wang, X., Zhang, Y., Zhu, H. & Lu, C. (2008). Plant Physiology, 147(4), 1874-1885.
Mature plant cell walls lose their ability to expand and become unresponsive to expansin. This phenomenon is believed to be due to cross-linking of hemicellulose, pectin, or phenolic groups in the wall. By screening various hydrolytic enzymes, we found that pretreatment of nongrowing, heat-inactivated, basal cucumber (Cucumis sativus) hypocotyls with pectin lyase (Pel1) from Aspergillus japonicus could restore reconstituted exogenous expansin-induced extension in mature cell walls in vitro. Recombinant pectate lyase A (PelA) and polygalacturonase (PG) from Aspergillus spp. exhibited similar capacity to Pel1. Pel1, PelA, and PG also enhanced the reconstituted expansin-induced extension of the apical (elongating) segments of cucumber hypocotyls. However, the effective concentrations of PelA and PG for enhancing the reconstituted expansin-induced extension were greater in the apical segments than in the basal segments, whereas Pel1 behaved in the opposite manner. These data are consistent with distribution of more methyl-esterified pectin in cell walls of the apical segments and less esterified pectin in the basal segments. Associated with the degree of esterification of pectin, more calcium was found in cell walls of basal segments compared to apical segments. Pretreatment of the calcium chelator EGTA could also restore mature cell walls' susceptibility to expansin by removing calcium from mature cell walls. Because recombinant pectinases do not hydrolyze other wall polysaccharides, and endoglucanase, xylanase, and protease cannot restore the mature wall's extensibility, we can conclude that the pectin network, especially calcium-pectate bridges, may be the primary factor that determines cucumber hypocotyl mature cell walls' unresponsiveness to expansin.
Cotton fiber cell walls of Gossypium hirsutum and Gossypium barbadense have differences related to loosely-bound xyloglucan.
Avci, U., Pattathil, S., Singh, B., Brown, V. L., Hahn, M. G. & Haigler, C. H. (2013). PloS one, 8(2), e56315.
Cotton fiber is an important natural textile fiber due to its exceptional length and thickness. These properties arise largely through primary and secondary cell wall synthesis. The cotton fiber of commerce is a cellulosic secondary wall surrounded by a thin cuticulated primary wall, but there were only sparse details available about the polysaccharides in the fiber cell wall of any cotton species. In addition, Gossypium hirsutum (Gh) fiber was known to have an adhesive cotton fiber middle lamella (CFML) that joins adjacent fibers into tissue-like bundles, but it was unknown whether a CFML existed in other commercially important cotton fibers. We compared the cell wall chemistry over the time course of fiber development in Gh and Gossypium barbadense (Gb), the two most important commercial cotton species, when plants were grown in parallel in a highly controlled greenhouse. Under these growing conditions, the rate of early fiber elongation and the time of onset of secondary wall deposition were similar in fibers of the two species, but as expected the Gb fiber had a prolonged elongation period and developed higher quality compared to Gh fiber. The Gb fibers had a CFML, but it was not directly required for fiber elongation because Gb fiber continued to elongate rapidly after CFML hydrolysis. For both species, fiber at seven ages was extracted with four increasingly strong solvents, followed by analysis of cell wall matrix polysaccharide epitopes using antibody-based Glycome Profiling. Together with immunohistochemistry of fiber cross-sections, the data show that the CFML of Gb fiber contained lower levels of xyloglucan compared to Gh fiber. Xyloglucan endo-hydrolase activity was also higher in Gb fiber. In general, the data provide a rich picture of the similarities and differences in the cell wall structure of the two most important commercial cotton species.
Role of (1,3)(1,4) β-glucan in cell walls: Interaction with cellulose.
Kiemle, S. N., Zhang, X., Esker, A. R., Toriz, G., Gatenholm, P. & Cosgrove, D. J. (2014). Biomacromolecules, 15 (5), 1727-1736.
(1,3)(1,4)-β-D-Glucan (mixed-linkage glucan or MLG), a characteristic hemicellulose in primary cell walls of grasses, was investigated to determine both its role in cell walls and its interaction with cellulose and other cell wall polysaccharides in vitro. Binding isotherms showed that MLG adsorption onto microcrystalline cellulose is slow, irreversible, and temperature-dependent. Measurements using quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring showed that MLG adsorbed irreversibly onto amorphous regenerated cellulose, forming a thick hydrogel. Oligosaccharide profiling using endo-(1,3)(1,4)-β-glucanase indicated that there was no difference in the frequency and distribution of (1,3) and (1,4) links in bound and unbound MLG. The binding of MLG to cellulose was reduced if the cellulose samples were first treated with certain cell wall polysaccharides, such as xyloglucan and glucuronoarabinoxylan. The tethering function of MLG in cell walls was tested by applying endo-(1,3)(1,4)-β-glucanase to wall samples in a constant force extensometer. Cell wall extension was not induced, which indicates that enzyme-accessible MLG does not tether cellulose fibrils into a load-bearing network.
Cell separation in kiwifruit without development of a specialised detachment zone.
Prakash, R., Hallett, I. C., Wong, S. F., Johnston, S. L., O’Donoghue, E. M., McAtee, P. A., Seal, A. G., Atkinson, R. G. & Schröder, R. (2017). BMC Plant Biology, 17(1), 86.
Background: Unlike in abscission or dehiscence, fruit of kiwifruit Actinidia eriantha develop the ability for peel detachment when they are ripe and soft in the absence of a morphologically identifiable abscission zone. Two closely-related genotypes with contrasting detachment behaviour have been identified. The ‘good-peeling’ genotype has detachment with clean debonding of cells, and a peel tissue that does not tear. The ‘poor-peeling’ genotype has poor detachability, with cells that rupture upon debonding, and peel tissue that fragments easily. Results: Structural studies indicated that peel detachability in both genotypes occurred in the outer pericarp beneath the hypodermis. Immunolabelling showed differences in methylesterification of pectin, where the interface of labelling coincided with the location of detachment in the good-peeling genotype, whereas in the poor-peeling genotype, no such interface existed. This zone of difference in methylesterification was enhanced by differential cell wall changes between the peel and outer pericarp tissue. Although both genotypes expressed two polygalacturonase genes, no enzyme activity was detected in the good-peeling genotype, suggesting limited pectin breakdown, keeping cell walls strong without tearing or fragmentation of the peel and flesh upon detachment. Differences in location and amounts of wall-stiffening galactan in the peel of the good-peeling genotype possibly contributed to this phenotype. Hemicellulose-acting transglycosylases were more active in the good-peeling genotype, suggesting an influence on peel flexibility by remodelling their substrates during development of detachability. High xyloglucanase activity in the peel of the good-peeling genotype may contribute by having a strengthening effect on the cellulose-xyloglucan network. Conclusions: In fruit of A. eriantha, peel detachability is due to the establishment of a zone of discontinuity created by differential cell wall changes in peel and outer pericarp tissues that lead to changes in mechanical properties of the peel. During ripening, the peel becomes flexible and the cells continue to adhere strongly to each other, preventing breakage, whereas the underlying outer pericarp loses cell wall strength as softening proceeds. Together these results reveal a novel and interesting mechanism for enabling cell separation.
Biochemical studies of two lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases from the white-rot fungus Heterobasidion irregulare and their roles in lignocellulose degradation.
Liu, B., Olson, Å., Wu, M., Broberg, A. & Sandgren, M. (2017). PloS One, 12(12), e0189479.
Lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMO) are important redox enzymes produced by microorganisms for the degradation of recalcitrant natural polysaccharides. Heterobasidion irregulare is a white-rot phytopathogenic fungus that causes wood decay in conifers. The genome of this fungus encodes 10 putative Auxiliary Activity family 9 (AA9) LPMOs. We describe the first biochemical characterization of H. irregulare LPMOs through heterologous expression of two CBM-containing LPMOs from this fungus (HiLPMO9H, HiLPMO9I) in Pichia pastoris. The oxidization preferences and substrate specificities of these two enzymes were determined. The two LPMOs were shown to cleave different carbohydrate components of plant cell walls. HiLPMO9H was active on cellulose and oxidized the substrate at the C1 carbon of the pyranose ring at β-1,4-glycosidic linkages, whereas HiLPMO9I cleaved cellulose with strict oxidization at the C4 carbon of glucose unit at internal bonds, and also showed activity against glucomannan. We propose that the two LPMOs play different roles in the plant-cell-wall degrading system of H. irregulare for degradation of softwood and that the lignocellulose degradation mediated by this white-rot fungus may require collective efforts from multi-types of LPMOs.
Mechanisms of utilisation of arabinoxylans by a porcine faecal inoculum: competition and co-operation.
Feng, G., Flanagan, B. M., Mikkelsen, D., Williams, B. A., Yu, W., Gilbert, R. G. & Gidley, M. J. (2018). Scientific Reports, 8(1), 4546.
Recent studies show that a single or small number of intestinal microbes can completely degrade complex carbohydrates. This suggests a drive towards competitive utilisation of dietary complex carbohydrates resulting in limited microbial diversity, at odds with the health benefits associated with a diverse microbiome. This study investigates the enzymatic metabolism of wheat and rye arabinoxylans (AX) using in vitro fermentation, with a porcine faecal inoculum. Through studying the activity of AX-degrading enzymes and the structural changes of residual AX during fermentation, we show that the AX-degrading enzymes are mainly cell-associated, which enables the microbes to utilise the AX competitively. However, potential for cross-feeding is also demonstrated to occur by two distinct mechanisms: (1) release of AX after partial degradation by cell-associated enzymes, and (2) release of enzymes during biomass turnover, indicative of co-operative AX degradation. This study provides a model for the combined competitive-co-operative utilisation of complex dietary carbohydrates by gut microorganisms.
Influence of a family 29 carbohydrate binding module on the activity of galactose oxidase from Fusarium graminearum.
Mollerup, F., Parikka, K., Vuong, T. V., Tenkanen, M. & Master, E. (2016). Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-General Subjects, 1860(2), 354-362.
Background: Galactose oxidase (GaO) selectively oxidizes the primary hydroxyl of galactose to a carbonyl, facilitating targeted chemical derivatization of galactose-containing polysaccharides, leading to renewable polymers with tailored physical and chemical properties. Here we investigate the impact of a family 29 glucomannan binding module on the activity and binding of GaO towards various polysaccharides. Specifically, CBM29-1-2 from Piromyces equi was separately linked to the N- and C-termini of GaO. Results: Both GaO-CBM29 and CBM29-GaO were successfully expressed in Pichia pastoris, and demonstrated enhanced binding to galactomannan, galactoglucomannan and galactoxyloglucan. The position of the CBM29 fusion affected the enzyme function. Particularly, C-terminal fusion led to greatest increases in galactomannan binding and catalytic efficiency, where relative to wild-type GaO, kcat/Km values increased by 7.5 and 19.8 times on guar galactomannan and locust bean galactomannan, respectively. The fusion of CBM29 also induced oligomerization of GaO-CBM29. Major conclusions: Similar to impacts of cellulose-binding modules associated with cellulolytic enzymes, increased substrate binding impeded the action of GaO fusions on more concentrated preparations of galactomannan, galactoglucomannan and galactoxyloglucan; this was especially true for GaO-CBM29. Given the N-terminal positioning of the native galactose-binding CBM32 in GaO, the varying impacts of N-terminal versus C-terminal fusion of CBM29-1-2 may reflect competing action of neighboring CBMs. General significance: This study thoroughly examines and discusses the effects of CBM fusion to non-lignocellulytic enzymes on soluble polysaccharides. Herein kinetics of GaO on galactose containing polysaccharides is presented for the first time.
Influence of cellulose nanocrystals concentration and ionic strength on the elaboration of cellulose nanocrystals-xyloglucan multilayered thin films.
Dammak, A., Moreau, C., Azzam, F., Jean, B., Cousin, F. & Cathala, B. (2015). Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 460, 214-220.
The effect of the variation of CNC concentration on the growth pattern of CNC-XG films is investigated. We found that a transition in the growth slope occurs at a CNC concentration of roughly 3-4 g L-1. A close effect can be obtained by the increase of the ionic strength of the CNC suspensions, suggesting that electrostatic interactions are involved. Static light scattering investigation of CNC dispersions at increasing concentrations demonstrated that the particle-particle interactions change as the CNC concentration increases. Neutron Reflectivity (NR) was used to probe the internal structure of the films. The increase of the CNC concentration as well as the increase of the ionic strength in the CNC suspension were found to induce a densification of the adsorbed CNC layers, even though the mechanisms are not strictly identical in both cases. Small changes in these parameters provide a straightforward way of controlling the architecture of CNC-based multilayered thin films and, as a result, their functional properties.
Hierarchical architecture of bacterial cellulose and composite plant cell wall polysaccharide hydrogels using small angle neutron scattering.
Martínez-Sanz, M., Gidley, M. J. & Gilbert, E. P. (2016). Soft Matter, 12(5), 1534-1549.
Small angle neutron scattering (SANS) has been applied to characterise the structure of pure bacterial cellulose hydrogels, and composites thereof, with two plant cell wall polysaccharides (arabinoxylan and xyloglucan). Conventional published models, which assume that bacterial cellulose ribbons are solid one-phase systems, fail to adequately describe the SANS data of pure bacterial cellulose. Fitting of the neutron scattering profiles instead suggests that the sub-structure of cellulose microfibrils contained within the ribbons results in the creation of regions with distinct values of neutron scattering length density, when the hydrogels are subjected to H2O/D2O exchange. This may be represented within a core-shell formalism that considers the cellulose ribbons to comprise a core containing impermeable crystallites surrounded by a network of paracrystalline cellulose and tightly bound water, and a shell containing only paracrystalline cellulose and water. Accordingly, a fitting function comprising the sum of a power-law term to account for the large scale structure of intertwined ribbons, plus a core-shell cylinder with polydisperse radius, has been applied; it is demonstrated to simultaneously describe all SANS contrast variation data of pure and composite bacterial cellulose hydrogels. In addition, the resultant fitting parameters indicate distinct interaction mechanisms of arabinoxylan and xyloglucan with cellulose, revealing the potential of this approach to investigate the role of different plant cell wall polysaccharides on the biosynthesis process of cellulose.
Evaluation of structure and assembly of xyloglucan from tamarind seed (Tamarindus indica L.) with atomic force microscopy.
Kozioł, A., Cybulska, J., Pieczywek, P. M. & Zdunek, A. (2015). Food Biophysics, 10(4), 396-402.
The role of xyloglucan (XG) in the cell wall of plants and its technological usability depends on several factors, pertaining to molecular structure. Therefore, the goal of this study was to evaluate the nano-structure and self-assembly of XG by atomic force microscopy (AFM). As the model, a non-modified xyloglucan from a tamarind seed (Tamarindus indica L.) was used. Samples were minimally processed, i.e., treated with low-power ultrasound and studied on the surface of mica in ambient butanol. AFM topographic images revealed rod-like nanomolecules of xyloglucan with a mean height of 2.3 ± 0.5 nm and mean length of 640 ± 360 nm. The AFM study also showed that XG chains possessed a helical structure with a period of 115.8 ± 29.2 nm. This study showed possible-bending of molecules with a mean angle of 127.8 ± 25.6°. The xyloglucan molecules were able to aggregate as cross-like and a parallel like assemblies, and possibly as rope-like structures. The self-assembled bundles of xyloglucan chains were often complexed at an angle of 114.2 ± 36.3°.
Effect of xyloglucan molar mass on its assembly onto the cellulose surface and its enzymatic susceptibility.
Villares, A., Bizot, H., Moreau, C., Rolland-Sabaté, A. & Cathala, B. (2017). Carbohydrate Polymers, 157, 1105-1112.
Xyloglucan from tamarind seed has been submitted to an ultrasound treatment that reduces its molecular size to investigate the impact of molar mass on the interaction with cellulose. A low molar mass xyloglucan fraction (XGu, 1.04 × 105 g mol-1) was purified and its adsorption on the cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) surface has been investigated comparatively to the native fraction that presents high molar mass (XGn, 10.28 × 105 g mol-1). XGn arranged as loops and tails on CNCs whereas XGu formed trains onto the cellulose surface. Despite the extended conformation, XGu is able to cross-link cellulose nanocrystals in the layer-by-layer CNC-XG-CNC assemblies. Hydrolysis of model films by a xyloglucan-specific endoglucanase confirmed the greater accessibility of XGn loops and tails compared to the XGu trains. More importantly, in situ ellipsometry revealed that the presence of loops and tails facilitated swelling of CNC layers linked by XGn whereas the CNC-XGu-CNC structure did not experience swelling.
Proteomic insights into mannan degradation and protein secretion by the forest floor bacterium Chitinophaga pinensis.
Larsbrink, J., Tuveng, T. R., Pope, P. B., Bulone, V., Eijsink, V. G., Brumer, H. & McKee, L. S. (2017). Journal of Proteomics, 156, 63-74.
Together with fungi, saprophytic bacteria are central to the decomposition and recycling of biomass in forest environments. The Bacteroidetes phylum is abundant in diverse habitats, and several species have been shown to be able to deconstruct a wide variety of complex carbohydrates. The genus Chitinophaga is often enriched in hotspots of plant and microbial biomass degradation. We present a proteomic assessment of the ability of Chitinophaga pinensis to grow on and degrade mannan polysaccharides, using an agarose plate-based method of protein collection to minimise contamination with exopolysaccharides and proteins from lysed cells, and to reflect the realistic setting of growth on a solid surface. We show that select Polysaccharide Utilisation Loci (PULs) are expressed in different growth conditions, and identify enzymes that may be involved in mannan degradation. By comparing proteomic and enzymatic profiles, we show evidence for the induced expression of enzymes and PULs in cells grown on mannan polysaccharides compared with cells grown on glucose. In addition, we show that the secretion of putative biomass-degrading enzymes during growth on glucose comprises a system for nutrient scavenging, which employs constitutively produced enzymes. Significance of this study: Chitinophaga pinensis belongs to a bacterial genus which is prominent in microbial communities in agricultural and forest environments, where plant and fungal biomass is intensively degraded. Such degradation is hugely significant in the recycling of carbon in the natural environment, and the enzymes responsible are of biotechnological relevance in emerging technologies involving the deconstruction of plant cell wall material. The bacterium has a comparatively large genome, which includes many uncharacterised carbohydrate-active enzymes. We present the first proteomic assessment of the biomass-degrading machinery of this species, focusing on mannan, an abundant plant cell wall hemicellulose. Our findings include the identification of several novel enzymes, which are promising targets for future biochemical characterisation. In addition, the data indicate the expression of specific Polysaccharide Utilisation Loci, induced in the presence of different growth substrates. We also highlight how a constitutive secretion of enzymes which deconstruct microbial biomass likely forms part of a nutrient scavenging process.
Identification and characterization of an acidic and acid-stable endoxyloglucanase from Penicillium oxalicum.
Xian, L., Wang, F., Yin, X. & Feng, J. X. (2016). International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 86, 512-518.
Xyloglucan is a major structural macromolecule of the primary cell wall of spermatophytes. The hydrolysis of xyloglucan by xyloglucanases may facilitate the hydrolysis of cellulose by cellulases, which is beneficial for bioethanol production. Penicillium oxalicum has been employed for commercial cellulase production. In P. oxalicum, many genes and proteins related to the degradation of structural macromolecules of the plant cell wall have been found, but no gene encoding a xyloglucanase has been identified. In this study, a gene, PoxXEG12A, was cloned from P. oxalicum and expressed in Pichia pastoris, and the gene product was enzymatically characterized. PoxXEG12A shared 63% sequence identity with endoxyloglucanases from Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus aculeatus. PoxXEG12A specifically hydrolyzed tamarind xyloglucan in endo-acting mode and, thus, it is an endoxyloglucanase. PoxXEG12A was most active at pH 4.5-5.5 and at 55-60°C, with a specific activity of 172 U/mg protein toward tamarind xyloglucan. The enzyme was stable at pH 3.5-7.0 and below 40°C. The properties of the endoxyloglucanase PoxXEG12A suggest that the enzyme might have potential in industrial applications.