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Glycobiology. 2014 Feb;24(2):170-8. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cwt096. Epub 2013 Nov 17.

WbgL: a novel bacterial α1,2-fucosyltransferase for the synthesis of 2'-fucosyllactose.

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Laboratory for Biomaterials, Institute of Biotechnology and Helmholtz-Institute for Biomedical Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, Worringer Weg 1, 52074 Aachen, Germany.


Fucosyltransferases (FucTs) are essential tools for the synthesis of fucosylated glycoconjugates. Multistep enzyme catalysis of fucosylated glycans is not limited as long as isolated and well-characterized FucTs are available. The present paper introduces a novel bacterial α1,2-FucT of the glycosyltransferase family 11 encoded by the gene wbgL in the E. coli O126 genome, which only displays 25-30% homology to previously published α1,2-FucTs. A tailor made cloning and expression strategy allowed the successful production of active soluble enzyme in the cytoplasm of E. coli BL21(DE3) and E. coli JM109(DE3), respectively. The lack of a DxD motif and its high activity without divalent metal ions suggests that WbgL belongs to the GT-B fold superfamily. Substrate screening revealed the highest activity for β4-linked galactoside acceptor substrates, such as lactose and lactulose, making WbgL unique among other characterized α1,2-FucTs. Based on its excellent kinetic efficiency for lactose, we present here a sequential reaction strategy for the synthesis of α1,2-fucosyllactose in one pot including the synthesis of the donor substrate 3,3'-Diaminobenzidine (GDP)-β-l-fucose by the bifunctional l-fucokinase/GDP-β-l-Fuc pyrophosphorylase of Bacteroides fragilis 9343.


biocatalysis; glycan epitope; glycoconjugates; glycosyltransferases; nucleotide sugar

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