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Planta. 2006 Oct;224(5):1091-102. Epub 2006 Apr 29.

LeMAN4 endo-beta-mannanase from ripe tomato fruit can act as a mannan transglycosylase or hydrolase.

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Mt. Albert Research Centre, The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand, Private Bag 92 169, Auckland, New Zealand.


Mannan transglycosylases are cell wall enzymes able to transfer part of the mannan polysaccharide backbone to mannan-derived oligosaccharides (Schröder et al. in Planta 219:590-600, 2004). Mannan transglycosylase activity was purified to near homogeneity from ripe tomato fruit. N-terminal sequencing showed that the dominant band seen on SDS-PAGE was identical to LeMAN4a, a hydrolytic endo-beta-mannanase found in ripe tomato fruit (Bewley et al. in J Exp Bot 51:529-538, 2000). Recombinant LeMAN4a protein expressed in Escherichia coli exhibited both mannan hydrolase and mannan transglycosylase activity. Western analysis of ripe tomato fruit tissue using an antibody raised against tomato seed endo-beta-mannanase revealed four isoforms present after 2D-gel electrophoresis in the pH range 6-11. On separation by preparative liquid isoelectric focussing, these native isoforms exhibited different preferences for transglycosylation and hydrolysis. These results demonstrate that endo-beta-mannanase has two activities: it can either hydrolyse mannan polysaccharides, or in the presence of mannan-derived oligosaccharides, carry out a transglycosylation reaction. We therefore propose that endo-beta-mannanase should be renamed mannan transglycosylase/hydrolase, in accordance with the nomenclature established for xyloglucan endotransglucosylase/hydrolase. The role of endo-acting mannanases in modifying the structure of plant cell walls during cell expansion, seed germination and fruit ripening may need to be reinterpreted in light of their potential action as transglycosylating or hydrolysing enzymes.

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