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Hidden Reaction: Mesophilic Cellobiose 2‑Epimerases Produce Lactulose

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posted on 2017-03-02, 00:00 authored by Beatrice Kuschel, Ines Seitl, Claudia Glück, Wanmeng Mu, Bo Jiang, Timo Stressler, Lutz Fischer
Lactulose (4-O-β-d-galactopyranosyl-d-fructofuranose) is a prebiotic sugar derived from the milk sugar lactose (4-O-β-d-galactopyranosyl-d-glucopyranose). In our study we observed for the first time that known cellobiose 2-epimerases (CEs; EC 5.1.3.11) from mesophilic microorganisms were generally able to catalyze the isomerization reaction of lactose into lactulose. Commonly, CEs catalyze the C2-epimerization of d-glucose and d-mannose moieties at the reducing end of β-1,4-glycosidic-linked oligosaccharides. Thus, epilactose (4-O-β-d-galactopyranosyl-d-mannopyranose) is formed with lactose as substrate. So far, only four CEs, exclusively from thermophilic microorganisms, have been reported to additionally catalyze the isomerization reaction of lactose into lactulose. The specific isomerization activity of the seven CEs in this study ranged between 8.7 ± 0.1 and 1300 ± 37 pkat/mg. The results indicate that very likely all CEs are able to catalyze both the epimerization as well as the isomerization reaction, whereby the latter is performed at a comparatively much lower reaction rate.

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