A metabolic pathway leading to mannosylfructose biosynthesis in Agrobacterium tumefaciens uncovers a family of mannosyltransferases

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Sep 4;104(36):14318-23. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0706709104. Epub 2007 Aug 29.


A metabolic pathway for biosynthesis of the nonreducing disaccharide mannosylfructose (beta-fructofuranosyl-alpha-mannopyranoside), an important osmolyte in Agrobacterium tumefaciens, was discovered. We have identified and functionally characterized two ORFs that correspond to genes (named mfpsA and mfppA) encoding the rare enzymes mannosylfructose-phosphate synthase and mannosylfructose-phosphate phosphatase, an associated phosphohydrolase. The mfpsA and mfppA genes are arranged in an operon structure, whose transcription is up-regulated by NaCl, resulting in the accumulation of mannosylfructose in the cells. Not only is the biosynthesis of mannosylfructose mechanistically similar to that of sucrose, but the corresponding genes for the biosynthesis of both disaccharides are also phylogenetic close relatives. Importantly, a protein phylogeny analysis indicated that mannosylfructose-phosphate synthase defines a unique group of mannosyltransferases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agrobacterium tumefaciens / enzymology*
  • Agrobacterium tumefaciens / genetics
  • Disaccharides / biosynthesis*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Genome, Bacterial / genetics
  • Mannosyltransferases / classification
  • Mannosyltransferases / genetics
  • Mannosyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molecular Structure
  • Operon / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism


  • Disaccharides
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • mannosucrose
  • Mannosyltransferases

Associated data

  • GENBANK/EF530045
  • GENBANK/EF530046