A general method for assaying homo- and hetero-transglycanase activities that act on plant cell-wall polysaccharides

Lenka Franková, Stephen C Fry

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Transglycanases (endotransglycosylases) cleave a polysaccharide (donor-substrate) in mid-chain, and then transfer a portion onto another poly- or oligosaccharide (acceptor-substrate). Such enzymes contribute to plant cell-wall assembly and/or re-structuring. We sought a general method for revealing novel homo- and hetero-transglycanases, applicable to diverse polysaccharides and oligosaccharides, separating transglycanase-generated (3)H-polysaccharides from unreacted (3)H-oligosaccharides--the former immobilized (on filter-paper, silica-gel or glass-fiber), the latter eluted. On filter-paper, certain polysaccharides [e.g. (1→3, 1→4)-β-D-glucans] remained satisfactorily adsorbed when water-washed; others (e.g. pectins) were partially lost. Many oligosaccharides (e.g. arabinan-, galactan-, xyloglucan-based) were successfully eluted in appropriate solvents, but others (e.g. [(3)H]xylohexaitol, [(3)H]mannohexaitol [(3)H]cellohexaitol) remained immobile. On silica-gel, all (3)H-oligosaccharides left an immobile 'ghost' spot (contaminating any (3)H-polysaccharides), which was diminished but not prevented by additives e.g. sucrose or Triton X-100. The best stratum was glass-fiber (GF), onto which the reaction-mixture was dried then washed in 75% ethanol. Washing led to minimal loss or lateral migration of (3)H-polysaccharides if conducted by slow percolation of acidified ethanol. The effectiveness of GF-blotting was well demonstrated for Chara vulgaris trans-β-mannanase. In conclusion, our novel GF-blotting technique efficiently frees transglycanase-generated (3)H-polysaccharides from unreacted (3)H-oligosaccharides, enabling high-throughput screening of multiple postulated transglycanase activities utilising chemically diverse donor- and acceptor-substrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-428
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of integrative plant biology
Issue number4
Early online date31 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • Cell Wall
  • Chromatography, Thin Layer
  • Enzyme Assays
  • Glycoside Hydrolases
  • Paper
  • Plant Cells
  • Polysaccharides
  • Time Factors
  • Tritium
  • beta-Mannosidase


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