β-D-Galactofuranose (Galf) and its polysaccharides are found in bacteria, fungi and protozoa but do not occur in mammalian tissues, and thus represent a specific target for anti-pathogenic drugs. Understanding the enzymatic degradation of these polysaccharides is therefore of great interest, but the identity of fungal enzymes with exclusively galactofuranosidase activity has so far remained elusive. Here we describe the identification and characterization of a galactofuranosidase from the industrially important fungus Aspergillus niger. Phylogenetic analysis of glycoside hydrolase family 43 subfamily 34 (GH43_34) members revealed the occurrence of three distinct clusters and, by comparison with specificities of characterized bacterial members, suggested a basis for prediction of enzyme specificity. Using this rationale, in tandem with molecular docking, we identified a putative β-D-galactofuranosidase from A. niger which was recombinantly expressed in Escherichia coli. The Galf-specific hydrolase, encoded by xynD demonstrates maximum activity at pH 5, 25 °C towards 4-Nitrophenyl-β-galactofuranoside (pNP-β-Galf), with a Km of 17.9 ± 1.9 mM and Vmax of 70.6 ± 5.3 μmol min−1. The characterization of this first fungal GH43 galactofuranosidase offers further molecular insight into the degradation of Galf-containing structures and may inform clinical treatments against fungal pathogens.
|Publication status||First published - 27 Oct 2021|