Several well known microbial lipases were screened for their ability to hydrolyze synthetic medium chain monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) and digalactosyldiacylglycerol (DGDG). Fusarium solani cutinase and Thermomyces lanuginosus lipase (TLL) were found to hydrolyze MGDG at high rates (984 ± 62 and 450 ± 41 U/mg, respectively). These activities remained however lower than those measured with pancreatic lipase-related protein 2 (PLRP2) on the same substrate. As previously observed with PLRP2, galactolipid–bile salt mixed micelles were found to be the best substrate form for microbial enzymes. The galactolipid to bile salt molar ratios for measuring maximum galactolipase activities were found to be similar to those previously established with PLRP2, suggesting that bile salts have mainly an effect on the substrate and not on the enzyme itself. The galactolipase activity of cutinase and TLL, as well as human and guinea pig PLRP2s were also measured using galactolipid monomolecular films. Enzymes having a lid (TLL and human PLRP2) were found to act at higher surface pressures than those with no lid (cutinase and guinea pig PLRP2). In silico docking of medium chain MGDG and DGDG in the active site of guinea pig PLRP2 and TLL reveals some structural analogies between these enzymes.
Practical applications: Galactolipase activity already finds applications in baking process with the partial lipolysis of galactolipids present in wheat flour and the in situ production of emulsifier molecules. More generally, these enzymes could be used for the enzymatic modification of galactolipids, the main plant lipids. These lipids are considered to be the most abundant at the surface of the earth and thus constitute the largest resource of fatty acids.