Alpha-1,4-transglycosylation Activity of GH57 Glycogen Branching Enzymes Is Higher in the Absence of a Flexible Loop with a Conserved Tyrosine Residue

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Starch-like polymers can be created through the use of enzymatic modification with glycogen branching enzymes (GBEs). GBEs are categorized in the glycoside hydrolase (GH) family 13 and 57. Both GH13 and GH57 GBEs exhibit branching and hydrolytic activity. While GH13 GBEs are also capable of α-1,4-transglycosylation, it is yet unknown whether GH57 share this capability. Among the four crystal structures of GH57 GBEs that have been solved, a flexible loop with a conserved tyrosine was identified to play a role in the branching activity. However, it remains unclear whether this flexible loop is also involved in α-1,4-transglycosylation activity. We hypothesize that GH57 GBEs with the flexible loop and tyrosine are also capable of α-1,4-transglycosylation, similar to GH13 GBEs. The aim of the present study was to characterize the activity of GH57 GBEs to investigate a possible α-1,4-transglycosylation activity. Three GH57 GBEs were selected, one from Thermococcus kodakarensis with the flexible loop and two beta-strands; one from Thermotoga maritima, missing the flexible loop and beta-strands; and one from Meiothermus sp., missing the flexible loop but with the two beta-strands. The analysis of chain length distribution over time of modified maltooctadecaose, revealed, for the first time, that all three GH57 GBEs can generate chains longer than the substrate itself, showing that α-1,4-transglycosylation activity is generally present in GH57 GBEs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2777
Number of pages12
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2023


  • alpha-1,4-transglycosylation
  • flexible loop
  • glycogen branching enzyme

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