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Journal: Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry


The specificity for the α-1,4- and α-1,6-glucosidic linkages varies among glycoside hydrolase family 31 α-glucosidases. This difference in substrate specificity has been considered to be due to the difference in an aromatic residue on β→α loop 1 in the catalytic domain with a (β/α)8 barrel fold; i.e., the enzymes having Tyr and Trp on β→α loop 1 were respectively described as α-1,4-specific and α-1,6-specific α-glucosidases. Schwanniomyces occidentalis α-glucosidase, however, prefers the α-1,4-glucosidic linkage, although the enzyme possesses Trp324 at the corresponding position. The mutation of Trp324 to Tyr decreased the ability for hydrolysis of the α-1,6-glucosidic linkage and formation of the α-1,6-glucosidic linkage in transglycosylation, indicating Trp324 to be closely associated with α-1,6 specificity, even if the enzyme preferred the α-1,4-glucosidic linkage. The mutant enzyme was found to catalyze the production of the branched oligosaccharide, 2,4-di-O-(α-D-glucopyranosyl)-D-glucopyranose, more efficiently than the wild-type enzyme.

Concepts: Protein, Metabolism, Enzyme, Enzyme substrate, Product, Catalysis, Ribozyme, Hydrolysis


L-Arabinose is a useful sugar in the food industry. We demonstrate here simple methods for refining arabinan polysaccharides by alcohol extraction from prune, Prunus domestica L., as a source of L-arabinose. Alcohol-soluble polysaccharides were purified from a solution of prune extracted by 80% ethanol. After fractionating the polysaccharides by ion-exchange chromatography, arabinans were identified as mainly constituted by (1→5)-linked arabinofuranosyl units.

Concepts: Glucose, Food, Starch, Cellulose, Carbohydrate, Monosaccharide, Food industry, Plum


We extracted collagen from moon jellyfish under neutral pH conditions and analyzed its amino acid composition, secondary structure, and thermal stability. The content of hydroxyproline was 4.3%, which is lower than that of other collagens. Secondary structure analysis using circular dichroism (CD) showed a typical collagen helix. The thermal stability of this collagen at pH 3.0 was lower than those from fish scale and pig skin, which also correlates closely with jellyfish collagen having lower hydroxyproline content. Because the solubility of jellyfish collagen used in this study at neutral pH was quite high, it was possible to analyze its structural and physical properties under physiological conditions. Thermodynamic analysis using CD and differential scanning calorimetry showed that the thermal stability at pH 7.5 was higher than at pH 3.0, possibly due to electrostatic interactions. During the process of unfolding, fibrillation would occur only at neutral pH.

Concepts: Protein, Amino acid, Acid, Collagen, Temperature, Differential scanning calorimetry, Circular dichroism, Proline


Inducing an axenic culture of the edible cyanobacterium Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis using differential filtration alone is never successful; thus, it has been thought that, in non-axenic cultures, a portion of contaminating bacteria is strongly associated with Arthrospira cells. However, examination of the behavior of these bacteria during filtration revealed that they were not associated with Arthrospira cells but with aggregates of exopolysaccharides present in the medium away from the Arthrospira cells. Based on this finding, a rapid and reliable method for preparing axenic trichomes of A. platensis was established. After verifying the axenicity of the resulting trichomes on enriched agar plates, they were individually transferred to fresh sterile medium using a handmade tool, a microtrowel, to produce axenic cultures. With this technique, axenic cultures of various A. platensis strains were successfully produced. The technique described in this study is potentially applicable to a wider range of filamentous cyanobacteria.

Concepts: Cyanobacteria, Archaea, Bacteria, Organism, Microbiology, Agar plate, Spirulina, Axenic


The report is the first of purification, overproduction, and characterization of a unique γ-butyrobetainyl CoA synthetase from soil-isolated Agrobacterium sp. 525a. The primary structure of the enzyme shares 70-95% identity with those of ATP-dependent microbial acyl-CoA synthetases of the Rhizobiaceae family. As distinctive characteristics of the enzyme of this study, ADP was released in the catalytic reaction process, whereas many acyl CoA synthetases are annotated as an AMP-forming enzyme. The apparent Km values for γ-butyrobetaine, CoA, and ATP were, respectively, 0.69, 0.02, and 0.24 mM.

Concepts: Protein, Bacteria, Molecular biology, Metabolism, Enzyme, Chemical reaction, Catalysis, Agrobacterium


We herein report the immunostimulatory effect of spinach aqueous extract (SAE) on mouse macrophage-like J774.1 cells and mouse primary peritoneal macrophages. SAE significantly enhanced the production of interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α by both J774.1 cells and peritoneal macrophages by enhancing the expression levels of these cytokine genes. In addition, the phagocytosis activity of J774.1 cells was facilitated by SAE. Immunoblot analysis revealed that SAE activates mitogen-activated protein kinase and nuclear factor-κB cascades. It was found that SAE activates macrophages through not only TLR4, but also other receptors. The production of IL-6 was significantly enhanced by peritoneal macrophages from SAE-administered BALB/c mice, suggesting that SAE has a potential to stimulate macrophage activity in vivo. Taken together, these data indicate that SAE would be a beneficial functional food with immunostimulatory effects on macrophages.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Protein, Gene, Gene expression, Signal transduction, Cell biology, Apoptosis


Over 200 components with molecular mass ranging mainly from 400 to 4000 Da were characterized from the venom of the vermivorous cone snail Conus fulgetrum that inhabit Egyptian Red Sea. One major component having a molecular mass of 2946 Da was purified by HPLC, and its primary structure was determined by a combination of Edman degradation and MS/MS analysis.

Concepts: Protein structure, Molecular biology, Atomic mass unit, Conus, Conidae, Radula


An elicitor chitosan (CHT) induces stomatal closure but the mechanism remains to be clarified. A phytohormone salicylic acid (SA) is crucial for elicitor-induced defense signaling in plants. Here we investigated whether endogenous SA is required for CHT signaling in guard cells. In the SA-deficient nahG mutant, treatment of CHT did not induce either apoplastic reactive oxygen species (ROS) production or stomatal closure but co-treatment of CHT and SA induced both apoplastic ROS production and stomatal closure, indicating the involvement of endogenous SA in CHT-induced apoplastic ROS production and CHT-induced stomatal closure. Furthermore, CHT induced transient cytosolic free calcium concentration increments in the nahG mutant in the presence of exogenous SA but not in the absence of exogenous SA. These results provide evidence that endogenous SA is a crucial element in CHT-induced stomatal closure.

Concepts: Oxygen, Mitochondrion, Reactive oxygen species, Calcium, Salicylic acid, Induced demand, Ascorbic acid, Systemic acquired resistance


Espresso coffee foam, called crema, is known to be a marker of the quality of espresso coffee extraction. However, the role of foam in coffee temperature has not been quantitatively clarified. In this study, we used an automatic machine for espresso coffee extraction. We evaluated whether the foam prepared using the machine was suitable for foam analysis. After extraction, the percentage and consistency of the foam were measured using various techniques, and changes in the foam volume were tracked over time. Our extraction method, therefore, allowed consistent preparation of high-quality foam. We also quantitatively determined that the foam phase slowed cooling of the liquid phase after extraction. High-quality foam plays an important role in delaying the cooling of espresso coffee.

Concepts: Density, Coffee, Espresso


Flavobacterium psychrophilum (F. psychrophilum) is the causative agent of bacterial cold-water disease (BCWD) that occurs in ayu Plecoglossus altivelis. Formalin-killed cell of F. psychrophilum has long been studied as an immersion vaccine for BCWD. In this study, we explored the possibility of F. psychrophilum collagenase (fpcol) for use as the immersion vaccine. BCWD convalescent ayu sera contained specific IgM antibodies against somatic F. psychrophilum and fpcol, meaning that fpcol is a promising antigen for the vaccine development. The recombinant fpcol was successfully expressed in Escherichia coli and Brevibacillus chosinensis (B. chosinensis). The culture supernatant of the B. chosinensis was used as an immersion vaccine solution. The vaccinated ayu were then challenged by soaking into F. psychrophilum culture. In two experimental groups, the relative percentages of survivals were 63 and 38%, respectively, suggesting that fpcol is promising as the immersion vaccine for ayu-BCWD.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Vaccine, Immunology, Escherichia coli, Biotechnology, Antigen, Ayu