Aspergillus fumigatus is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that causes both chronic and acute invasive infections. Galactosaminogalactan (GAG) is an integral component of the A. fumigatus biofilm matrix and a key virulence factor. GAG is a heterogeneous linear α-1,4-linked exopolysaccharide of galactose and GalNAc that is partially deacetylated after secretion. A cluster of five co-expressed genes has been linked to GAG biosynthesis and modification. One gene in this cluster, ega3, is annotated as encoding a putative α-1,4-galactosaminidase belonging to glycoside hydrolase family 114 (GH114). Herein, we show that recombinant Ega3 is an active glycoside hydrolase that disrupts GAG-dependent A. fumigatus and Pel polysaccharide-dependent Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms at nanomolar concentrations. Using MS and functional assays, we demonstrate that Ega3 is an endo-acting α-1,4-galactosaminidase whose activity depends on the conserved acidic residues, Asp-189 and Glu-247. X-ray crystallographic structural analysis of the apo Ega3 and an Ega3-galactosamine complex, at 1.76 and 2.09 Å resolutions, revealed a modified (β/α)8-fold with a deep electronegative cleft, which upon ligand binding is capped to form a tunnel. Our structural analysis coupled with in silico docking studies also uncovered the molecular determinants for galactosamine specificity and substrate binding at the -2 to +1 binding subsites. The findings in this study increase the structural and mechanistic understanding of the GH114 family, which has >600 members encoded by plant and opportunistic human pathogens, as well as in industrially used bacteria and fungi.
Keywords: Aspergillus; biofilm; carbohydrate biosynthesis; carbohydrate processing; enzyme mechanism; exopolysaccharide matrix; galactosaminogalactan (GAG); glycoside hydrolase; glycoside hydrolase 114 (GH114); protein structure; virulence factor.
© 2019 Bamford et al.