Bifidobacterium bifidum is one of the most frequently found bifidobacteria in the intestines of newborn infants. We previously reported that B. bifidum possesses unique metabolic pathways for O-linked glycans on gastrointestinal mucin (Yoshida E, Sakurama H, Kiyohara M, Nakajima M, Kitaoka M, Ashida H, Hirose J, Katayama T, Yamamoto K, Kumagai H. 2012. Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis uses two different β-galactosidases for selectively degrading type-1 and type-2 human milk oligosaccharides. Glycobiology. 22:361-368). The nonreducing termini of O-linked glycans on mucin are frequently covered with histo-blood group antigens. Here, we identified a gene agabb from B. bifidum JCM 1254, which encodes glycoside hydrolase (GH) family 110 α-galactosidase. AgaBb is a 1289-amino acid polypeptide containing an N-terminal signal sequence, a GH110 domain, a carbohydrate-binding module (CBM) 51 domain, a bacterial Ig-like (Big) 2 domain and a C-terminal transmembrane region, in this order. The recombinant enzyme expressed in Escherichia coli hydrolyzed α1,3-linked Gal in branched blood group B antigen [Galα1-3(Fucα1-2)Galβ1-R], but not in a linear xenotransplantation antigen (Galα1-3Galβ1-R). The enzyme also acted on group B human salivary mucin and erythrocytes. We also revealed that CBM51 specifically bound blood group B antigen using both isothermal titration calorimetry and a solid-phase binding assay, and it enhanced the affinity of the enzyme toward substrates with multivalent B antigens. We suggest that this enzyme plays an important role in degrading B antigens to acquire nutrients from mucin oligosaccharides in the gastrointestinal tracts.
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