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J Bacteriol. 2016 Sep 22;198(20):2887-96. doi: 10.1128/JB.00468-16. Print 2016 Oct 15.

Role of the ganSPQAB Operon in Degradation of Galactan by Bacillus subtilis.

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Institut für Industrielle Genetik, Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany.
Institut für Industrielle Genetik, Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany


Bacillus subtilis possesses different enzymes for the utilization of plant cell wall polysaccharides. This includes a gene cluster containing galactan degradation genes (ganA and ganB), two transporter component genes (ganQ and ganP), and the sugar-binding lipoprotein-encoding gene ganS (previously known as cycB). These genes form an operon that is regulated by GanR. The degradation of galactan by B. subtilis begins with the activity of extracellular GanB. GanB is an endo-β-1,4-galactanase and is a member of glycoside hydrolase (GH) family 53. This enzyme was active on high-molecular-weight arabinose-free galactan and mainly produced galactotetraose as well as galactotriose and galactobiose. These galacto-oligosaccharides may enter the cell via the GanQP transmembrane proteins of the galactan ABC transporter. The specificity of the galactan ABC transporter depends on the sugar-binding lipoprotein, GanS. Purified GanS was shown to bind galactotetraose and galactotriose using thermal shift assay. The energy for this transport is provided by MsmX, an ATP-binding protein. The transported galacto-oligosaccharides are further degraded by GanA. GanA is a β-galactosidase that belongs to GH family 42. The GanA enzyme was able to hydrolyze short-chain β-1,4-galacto-oligosaccharides as well as synthetic β-galactopyranosides into galactose. Thermal shift assay as well as electrophoretic mobility shift assay demonstrated that galactobiose is the inducer of the galactan operon regulated by GanR. DNase I footprinting revealed that the GanR protein binds to an operator overlapping the -35 box of the σ(A)-type promoter of Pgan, which is located upstream of ganS IMPORTANCE: Bacillus subtilis is a Gram-positive soil bacterium that utilizes different types of carbohydrates, such as pectin, as carbon sources. So far, most of the pectin degradation systems and enzymes have been thoroughly studied in B. subtilis Nevertheless, the B. subtilis utilization system of galactan, which is found as the side chain of the rhamnogalacturonan type I complex in pectin, has remained partially studied. Here, we investigated the galactan utilization system consisting of the ganSPQAB operon and its regulator ganR This study improves our knowledge of the carbohydrate degradation systems of B. subtilis, especially the pectin degradation systems. Moreover, the galactan-degrading enzymes may be exploited for the production of galacto-oligosaccharides, which are used as prebiotic substances in the food industry.

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