P1 Trisaccharide (Galalpha1,4Galbeta1,4GlcNAc) synthesis by enzyme glycosylation reactions using recombinant Escherichia coli

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2003 Apr;69(4):2110-5. doi: 10.1128/AEM.69.4.2110-2115.2003.


The frequency of Escherichia coli infection has lead to concerns over pathogenic bacteria in our food supply and a demand for therapeutics. Glycolipids on gut cells serve as receptors for the Shiga-like toxin produced by E. coli. Oligosaccharide moiety analogues of these glycolipids can compete with receptors for the toxin, thus acting as antibacterials. An enzymatic synthesis of the P1 trisaccharide (Galalpha1,4Galbeta1,4GlcNAc), one of the oligosaccharide analogues, was assessed in this study. In the proposed synthetic pathway, UDP-glucose was generated from sucrose with an Anabaena sp. sucrose synthase and then converted with an E. coli UDP-glucose 4-epimerase to UDP-galactose. Two molecules of galactose were linked to N-acetylglucosamine subsequently with a Helicobacter pylori beta-l,4-galactosyltransferase and a Neisseria meningitidis alpha-1,4-galactosyltransferase to produce one molecule of P1 trisaccharide. The four enzymes were coexpressed in a single genetically engineered E. coli strain that was then permeabilized and used to catalyze the enzymatic reaction. P1 trisaccharide was accumulated up to 50 mM (5.4 g in a 200-ml reaction volume), with a 67% yield based on the consumption of N-acetylglucosamine. This study provides an efficient approach for the preparative-scale synthesis of P1 trisaccharide with recombinant bacteria.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylglucosamine / metabolism*
  • Anabaena / enzymology
  • Anabaena / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Galactosyltransferases / genetics
  • Galactosyltransferases / metabolism
  • Glucosyltransferases / genetics
  • Glucosyltransferases / metabolism
  • Glycosylation
  • Helicobacter pylori / enzymology
  • Helicobacter pylori / genetics
  • Neisseria meningitidis / enzymology
  • Neisseria meningitidis / genetics
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Trisaccharides / metabolism*
  • UDPglucose 4-Epimerase / genetics
  • UDPglucose 4-Epimerase / metabolism


  • Trisaccharides
  • Galactosyltransferases
  • Glucosyltransferases
  • sucrose synthase
  • UDPglucose 4-Epimerase
  • Acetylglucosamine