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Expression of four β-galactosidases from Bifidobacterium bifidum NCIMB41171 and their contribution on the hydrolysis and synthesis of galactooligosaccharides


This paper deals with two aspects tightly related to the enzymatic characteristics and expression of four β-galactosidases (BbgI, BbgII, BbgIII and BbgIV) from Bifidobacterium bifidum NCIMB41171. The growth patterns of this strain indicated a preference towards complex (i.e. lactose, galactooligosaccharides (GOSs)) rather than simple carbohydrates (i.e. glucose and galactose) and a collaborative action and synergistic relation of more than one β-galactosidase isoenzyme for either lactose or GOS hydrolysis and subsequent assimilation. Native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis of protein extracts from cells growing on different carbohydrates (i.e. glucose, lactose or GOS) indicated that two lactose hydrolysing enzymes (BbgI and BbgIII) and one GOS hydrolysing enzyme (BbgII) were constitutively expressed, whereas a fourth lactose hydrolysing enzyme (BbgIV) was induced in the presence of lactose or different GOS fractions. Furthermore, the β-galactosidase expression profiles of B. bifidum cells and the transgalactosylating properties of each individual isoenzyme, with lactose as substrate, clearly indicated that mainly three isoenzymes (BbgI, BbgIII and BbgIV) are implicated in GOS synthesis when whole B. bifidum cells are utilised. Two of the isoenzymes (BbgI and BbgIV) proved to have better transgalactosylating properties giving yields ranging from 42% to 47% whereas the rest (BbgI and BbgIII) showed lower yields (15% and 29%, respectively).

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Goulas, T., Goulas, A., Tzortzis, G. et al. Expression of four β-galactosidases from Bifidobacterium bifidum NCIMB41171 and their contribution on the hydrolysis and synthesis of galactooligosaccharides. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 84, 899–907 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-009-2009-5

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  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • β-Galactosidase
  • Prebiotic