Aspergillus nidulans alpha-galactosidase of glycoside hydrolase family 36 catalyses the formation of alpha-galacto-oligosaccharides by transglycosylation

Hiroyuki Nakai, Martin J Baumann, Bent O Petersen, Yvonne Westphal, Maher Abou Hachem, Adiphol Dilokpimol, Jens Ø Duus, Henk A Schols, Birte Svensson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The alpha-galactosidase from Aspergillus nidulans (AglC) belongs to a phylogenetic cluster containing eukaryotic alpha-galactosidases and alpha-galacto-oligosaccharide synthases of glycoside hydrolase family 36 (GH36). The recombinant AglC, produced in high yield (0.65 g.L(-1) culture) as His-tag fusion in Escherichia coli, catalysed efficient transglycosylation with alpha-(1-->6) regioselectivity from 40 mm 4-nitrophenol alpha-d-galactopyranoside, melibiose or raffinose, resulting in a 37-74% yield of 4-nitrophenol alpha-D-Galp-(1-->6)-D-Galp, alpha-D-Galp-(1-->6)-alpha-D-Galp-(1-->6)-D-Glcp and alpha-D-Galp-(1-->6)-alpha-D-Galp-(1-->6)-D-Glcp-(alpha1-->beta2)-d-Fruf (stachyose), respectively. Furthermore, among 10 monosaccharide acceptor candidates (400 mm) and the donor 4-nitrophenol alpha-D-galactopyranoside (40 mm), alpha-(1-->6) linked galactodisaccharides were also obtained with galactose, glucose and mannose in high yields of 39-58%. AglC did not transglycosylate monosaccharides without the 6-hydroxymethyl group, i.e. xylose, L-arabinose, L-fucose and L-rhamnose, or with axial 3-OH, i.e. gulose, allose, altrose and L-rhamnose. Structural modelling using Thermotoga maritima GH36 alpha-galactosidase as the template and superimposition of melibiose from the complex with human GH27 alpha-galactosidase supported that recognition at subsite +1 in AglC presumably requires a hydrogen bond between 3-OH and Trp358 and a hydrophobic environment around the C-6 hydroxymethyl group. In addition, successful transglycosylation of eight of 10 disaccharides (400 mm), except xylobiose and arabinobiose, indicated broad specificity for interaction with the +2 subsite. AglC thus transferred alpha-galactosyl to 6-OH of the terminal residue in the alpha-linked melibiose, maltose, trehalose, sucrose and turanose in 6-46% yield and the beta-linked lactose, lactulose and cellobiose in 28-38% yield. The product structures were identified using NMR and ESI-MS and five of the 13 identified products were novel, i.e. alpha-D-Galp-(1-->6)-D-Manp; alpha-D-Galp-(1-->6)-beta-D-Glcp-(1-->4)-D-Glcp; alpha-D-Galp-(1-->6)-beta-D-Galp-(1-->4)-D-Fruf; alpha-D-Galp-(1-->6)-D-Glcp-(alpha1-->alpha1)-D-Glcp; and alpha-D-Galp-(1-->6)-alpha-D-Glcp-(1-->3)-D-Fruf.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3538-51
Number of pages14
JournalFEBS Journal
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • acceptor specificity
  • carbohydrate structural analysis
  • transglycosylation
  • a-galacto-oligosaccharides
  • a-galactosidase


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