A novel enzyme activity involving de-methylation of specific partially methylated oligogalacturonides

M.A.K. Williams, J.A.E. Benen

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Studies of the enzymic digestion of pectic substrates using different polygalacturonase (PG) preparations have revealed evidence for a previously unreported enzyme activity carried out by a contaminating enzyme in one of the preparations. This observed activity involves the demethylation of specific oligogalacturonides, namely 2-methyltrigalacturonic acid and 2,3-dimethyltetragalacturonic acid. However, no large-scale demethylation of highly methylated polymeric substrates is found, demonstrating that the enzyme responsible is not a conventional pectin methylesterase (PME). Furthermore, it has been shown that a commercial sample of fungal PME from Aspergillus niger demethylates all of the oligogalacturonides present as primary products of endo-PG digestion, in contrast with the activity observed here. On the basis of the known methyl ester distribution of the endo-PG-generated fragments and knowledge of which of these oligogalacturonides are demethylated, it is concluded that the observed activity can be explained by the existence of an exo-acting methylesterase that attacks the non-reducing end of the oligogalacturonide molecules
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-515
JournalBiochemical Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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