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.