32265336, mBio. 2020 Apr 7;11(2):e00095-20. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00095-20.

Characterization method

qRT-PCR,affinity gel electrophoresis,isothermal titration calorimetry

Genomic accession number


Nucelotide position range







Bacteroides uniformis/820

Degradation or Biosynthesis


Cluster number


Gene name

Gene position

Gene type

Found by CGCFinder?

bglX 1 - 2253 (-) CAZyme: CBM6|GH3 Yes
- 2256 - 3545 (-) CAZyme: GH158 Yes
- 3634 - 4995 (-) CAZyme: GH16 Yes
- 5134 - 6507 (-) other Yes
- 6539 - 8128 (-) other Yes
- 8147 - 11350 (-) TC: gnl|TC-DB|Q45780|1.B.14.6.1 Yes
- 11642 - 14533 (-) STP: STP|Y_Y_Y,STP|GerE No




32265336, mBio. 2020 Apr 7;11(2):e00095-20. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00095-20.


Synergy between Cell Surface Glycosidases and Glycan-Binding Proteins Dictates the Utilization of Specific Beta(1,3)-Glucans by Human Gut Bacteroides.


Dejean G, Tamura K, Cabrera A, Jain N, Pudlo NA, Pereira G, Viborg AH, Van Petegem F, Martens EC, Brumer H


The human gut microbiota (HGM) has far-reaching impacts on human health and nutrition, which are fueled primarily by the metabolism of otherwise indigestible complex carbohydrates commonly known as dietary fiber. However, the molecular basis of the ability of individual taxa of the HGM to address specific dietary glycan structures remains largely unclear. In particular, the utilization of beta(1,3)-glucans, which are widespread in the human diet as yeast, seaweed, and plant cell walls, had not previously been resolved. Through a systems-based approach, here we show that the symbiont Bacteroides uniformis deploys a single, exemplar polysaccharide utilization locus (PUL) to access yeast beta(1,3)-glucan, brown seaweed beta(1,3)-glucan (laminarin), and cereal mixed-linkage beta(1,3)/beta(1,4)-glucan. Combined biochemical, enzymatic, and structural analysis of PUL-encoded glycoside hydrolases (GHs) and surface glycan-binding proteins (SGBPs) illuminates a concerted molecular system by which B. uniformis recognizes and saccharifies these distinct beta-glucans. Strikingly, the functional characterization of homologous beta(1,3)-glucan utilization loci (1,3GUL) in other Bacteroides further demonstrated that the ability of individual taxa to utilize beta(1,3)-glucan variants and/or beta(1,3)/beta(1,4)-glucans arises combinatorially from the individual specificities of SGBPs and GHs at the cell surface, which feed corresponding signals to periplasmic hybrid two-component sensors (HTCSs) via TonB-dependent transporters (TBDTs). These data reveal the importance of cooperativity in the adaptive evolution of GH and SGBP cohorts to address individual polysaccharide structures. We anticipate that this fine-grained knowledge of PUL function will inform metabolic network analysis and proactive manipulation of the HGM. Indeed, a survey of 2,441 public human metagenomes revealed the international, yet individual-specific, distribution of each 1,3GUL.IMPORTANCEBacteroidetes are a dominant phylum of the human gut microbiota (HGM) that target otherwise indigestible dietary fiber with an arsenal of polysaccharide utilization loci (PULs), each of which is dedicated to the utilization of a specific complex carbohydrate. Here, we provide novel insight into this paradigm through functional characterization of homologous PULs from three autochthonous Bacteroides species, which target the family of dietary beta(1,3)-glucans. Through detailed biochemical and protein structural analysis, we observed an unexpected diversity in the substrate specificity of PUL glycosidases and glycan-binding proteins with regard to beta(1,3)-glucan linkage and branching patterns. In combination, these individual enzyme and protein specificities support taxon-specific growth on individual beta(1,3)-glucans. This detailed metabolic insight, together with a comprehensive survey of individual 1,3GULs across human populations, further expands the fundamental roadmap of the HGM, with potential application to the future development of microbial intervention therapies.