De-novo synthesis of fructans from sucrose in vitro by a combination of two purified enzymes (sucrose:sucrose 1-fructosyl transferase and fructan:fructan 1-fructosyl transferase) from chicory roots (Cichorium intybus L)
Although fructans occur widely in several plant families and they have been a subject of investigation for decennia, the mechanism of their biosynthesis is not completely elucidated. We succeeded in purifying a fructan: fructan 1-fructosyl transferase (1-FFT; EC 188.8.131.52) from chicory roots (Cichorium intybus L. var. foliosum cv. Flash). In combination with the purified chicory root sucrose: sucrose 1-fructosyl transferase (1-SST; EC 184.108.40.206), this enzyme synthesized a range of naturally occurring chicory fructans (inulins) from sucrose as the sole substrate. Starting from physiologically relevant sucrose concentrations, inulins up to a degree of polymerization (DP) of about 20 were synthesized in vitro after 96 h at 0 degrees C. Neither 1-SST, nor 1-FFT alone could mediate the observed fructan synthesis. Fructan synthesis in vitro was compared starting from 50, 100 and 200mM sucrose, respectively. The initiation of (DP > 3)-fructan synthesis was found to be correlated with a certain ratio of 1-kestose to sucrose. The data presented now provide strong evidence to validate the 1-SST/1-FFT model for in-vivo fructan synthesis, at least in the Asteraceae.