pgaA and pgaB, two genes encoding endopolygalacturonases (PGs, EC A and B, were isolated from a phage genomic library of Aspergillusniger N400. The 1167 bp protein coding region of the pgaA gene is interrupted by one intron, whereas the 1234 bp coding region of the pgaB gene contains two introns. The corresponding proteins, PGA and PGB, consist of 370 and 362 amino acid residues respectively. Northern-blot analysis revealed that pgaA- and pgaB-specific mRNA accumulate in mycelia grown on sucrose. mRNAs are also present upon transfer to media containing D-galacturonic acid and pectin. Recombinant PGA and PGB were characterized with respect to pH optimum, activity on polygalacturonic acid, and mode of action and kinetics on oligogalacturonates of different chain length (n = 3-7). At their pH optimum the specific activities in a standard assay for PGA (pH 4.2) and PGB (pH 5.0) were 16.5 μkat·mg-1 and 8.3 μkat·mg-1 respectively. Product progression analysis, using polygalacturonate as a substrate, revealed a random cleavage pattern for both enzymes and indicated processive behaviour for PGA. This result was confirmed by analysis of the mode of action using oligogalacturonates. Processivity was observed when the degree of polymerization of the substrate exceeded 6. Using pectins of various degrees of methyl esterification, it was shown that PGA and PGB both preferred partially methylated substrates.

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