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Nature. 2017 Apr 6;544(7648):65-70. doi: 10.1038/nature21725. Epub 2017 Mar 22.

Complex pectin metabolism by gut bacteria reveals novel catalytic functions.

Author information

1
Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, U.K.
2
Architecture et Fonction des Macromolécules Biologiques, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Aix-Marseille University, F-13288 Marseille, France.
3
INRA, UR1268 Biopolymères Interactions Assemblages, 44300 Nantes, France.
4
Department of Biological Chemistry, John Innes Centre Norwich Research Park, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK.
5
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
6
Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, The University of Georgia, 315 Riverbend Road, Athens, GA 30602, USA.
7
Department of Chemistry, University of York, York YO10 5DD, U.K.
8
Lethbridge Research Centre, Lethbridge, AB, Canada.
9
INRA, USC 1408 AFMB, F-13288 Marseille, France.
10
Department of Biological Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
#
Contributed equally

Abstract

The metabolism of carbohydrate polymers drives microbial diversity in the human gut microbiota. It is unclear, however, whether bacterial consortia or single organisms are required to depolymerize highly complex glycans. Here we show that the gut bacterium Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron uses the most structurally complex glycan known: the plant pectic polysaccharide rhamnogalacturonan-II, cleaving all but 1 of its 21 distinct glycosidic linkages. The deconstruction of rhamnogalacturonan-II side chains and backbone are coordinated to overcome steric constraints, and the degradation involves previously undiscovered enzyme families and catalytic activities. The degradation system informs revision of the current structural model of rhamnogalacturonan-II and highlights how individual gut bacteria orchestrate manifold enzymes to metabolize the most challenging glycan in the human diet.

PMID:
28329766
PMCID:
PMC5388186
DOI:
10.1038/nature21725
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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