The D746E variant of Bifidobacterium bifidum β-N-acetyl-hexosaminidase is a promising glycosynthase (engineered glycosidase deficient in hydrolase activity) for the synthesis of lacto-N-triose II (LNT II), a core structural unit of human milk oligosaccharides. Here, we develop a flow process for the glycosynthase reaction, which is the regioselective β-1,3-glycosylation of lactose from a d-glucosamine 1,2-oxazoline donor. Using the glycosynthase immobilized on agarose beads (∼30 mg/g) packed into a fixed bed (1 ml), we show stable continuous production of LNT II (145–200 mM) at quantitative yield from the donor substrate. The wild-type β-N-acetyl-hexosaminidase used under exactly comparable conditions gives primarily (∼85%) the hydrolysis product d-glucosamine. By enabling short residence times (2 min) that are challenging for mixed-vessel types of reactor to establish, the glycosynthase flow reactor succeeds in an effective uncoupling of the LNT II formation (∼80–100 mM/min) from the slower side reactions (decomposition of donor substrate, enzymatic hydrolysis of LNT II) to obtain optimum synthetic efficiency. Our study thus provides a strong case for the application of flow chemistry principles to glycosynthase reactions and by that, it reveals the important synergy between enzyme and reaction engineering for biocatalytic synthesis of oligosaccharides.
- 1,2-oxazoline-activated donor substrate
- flow chemistry
- human milk oligosaccharides
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology