4,6-α-Glucanotransferase (4,6-α-GTase) enzymes, such as GTFB and GTFW of Lactobacillus reuteri strains, constitute a new reaction specificity in glycoside hydrolase family 70 (GH70) and are novel enzymes that convert starch or starch hydrolysates into isomalto/maltopolysaccharides (IMMPs). These IMMPs still have linear chains with some α1→4 linkages but mostly (relatively long) linear chains with α1→6 linkages and are soluble dietary starch fibers. 4,6-α-GTase enzymes and their products have significant potential for industrial applications. Here we report that an N-terminal truncation (amino acids 1 to 733) strongly enhances the soluble expression level of fully active GTFB-ΔN (approximately 75-fold compared to full-length wild type GTFB) in Escherichia coli. In addition, quantitative assays based on amylose V as the substrate are described; these assays allow accurate determination of both hydrolysis (minor) activity (glucose release, reducing power) and total activity (iodine staining) and calculation of the transferase (major) activity of these 4,6-α-GTase enzymes. The data show that GTFB-ΔN is clearly less hydrolytic than GTFW, which is also supported by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis of their final products. From these assays, the biochemical properties of GTFB-ΔN were characterized in detail, including determination of kinetic parameters and acceptor substrate specificity. The GTFB enzyme displayed high conversion yields at relatively high substrate concentrations, a promising feature for industrial application.
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