α-Glucan is a major cell wall component and a virulence and adhesion factor for fungal cells. However, the biosynthetic pathway of α-glucan was still unclear. α-Glucan was shown to be composed mainly of 1,3-glycosidically linked glucose, with trace amounts of 1,4-glycosidically linked glucose. Besides the α-glucan synthetases, amylase-like proteins were also important for α-glucan synthesis. In our previous work, we showed that Aspergillus nidulans AmyG was an intracellular protein and was crucial for the proper formation of α-glucan. In the present study, we expressed and purified AmyG in an Escherichia coli system. Enzymatic characterization found that AmyG mainly functioned as an α-amylase that degraded starch into maltose. AmyG also showed weak glucanotransferase activity. Most intriguingly, supplementation with maltose in shaken liquid medium could restore the α-glucan content and the phenotypic defect of a ΔamyG strain. These data suggested that AmyG functions mainly as an intracellular α-amylase to provide maltose during α-glucan synthesis in A. nidulans. IMPORTANCE Short α-1,4-glucan was suggested as the primer structure for α-glucan synthesis. However, the exact structure and its source remain elusive. AmyG was essential to promote α-glucan synthesis and had a major impact on the structure of α-glucan in the cell wall. Data presented here revealed that AmyG belongs to the GH13_5 family and showed strong amylase function, digesting starch into maltose. Supplementation with maltose efficiently rescued the phenotypic defect and α-glucan deficiency in an ΔamyG strain but not in an ΔagsB strain. These results provide the first piece of evidence for the primer structure of α-glucan in fungal cells, although it might be specific to A. nidulans.
Keywords: AmyG; Aspergillus nidulans; cell wall; α-amylase; α-glucan.