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J Gen Microbiol. 1991 Apr;137(4):757-64.

Biochemical and genetic analysis of Streptococcus mutans alpha-galactosidase.

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Hunterian Dental Research Unit, London Hospital Medical College, UK.


The aga gene coding for alpha-galactosidase in Streptococcus mutans was detected in a recombinant gene library constructed in phage lambda. The gene was subcloned into plasmid vectors and shown to specify a novel protein of Mr 80,000. Characterization of alpha-galactosidase from S. mutans and from recombinant Escherichia coli expressing aga indicated that the enzyme functions as a tetramer. The amino acid composition of the alpha-galactosidase, deduced from nucleotide sequencing of aga, gave a predicted Mr of 82,022 and revealed regions of homology to alpha-galactosidases encoded by the E. coli Raf plasmids and by Bacillus stearothermophilus. Inactivation of the aga gene in S. mutans resulted in loss of all alpha-galactosidase activity and abolished the ability to ferment melibiose; alpha-glucosidase activity was also lost, due to an indirect effect on the dexB gene.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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