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Debranching enzyme was purified from Saccharomyces cerevisiae by DEAE-cellulose, ω-aminobutyl agarose and hydroxyapatite column chromatography. The activity of the eluent was monitored by the iodine-staining method which detects both the direct and indirect debranching enzymes. The elution profiles at every step showed a single peak with no shoulder. The crude and the purified enzyme preparations gave a single activity band with the same mobility on PAGE. The crude product produced 80% glucose compared to reducing sugar from glycogen-phosphorylase-limited dextrin while the partially purified and purified preparations produced 100% glucose.

The activity of the purified enzyme was characterized and compared with that of the rabbit muscle enzyme by using various branched cyclodextrins as substrates. Both enzymes hydrolyzed 6-O-α-d-glucosyl cyclodextrins to glucose and cyclodextrins, but did not act on 6-O-α-maltosyl cyclomaltoheptaose. The yeast enzyme gave rise to glucose as a sole reducing sugar from 6-O-α-maltotriosyl cyclomaltoheptaose and 6-O-α-maltotraosyl cyclomaltoheptaose, indicating that maltosyl and maltotriosyl transfers, respectively, had occurred, prior to the action of amylo-1,6-glucosidase.

6-O-α-d-Glucosyl cyclomaltoheptaose and 6-O-α-d-glucosyl cyclomalto-octaose, respectively, were better substrates than glycogen-phosphorylase-limited dextrin for the yeast and muscle enzymes. The yeast enzyme released glucose at a similar rate from 6-O-α-maltotriosyl cyclomaltoheptaose as from 6-O-α-maltotetraosyl cyclomaltoheptaose, but considerably lower rates than that from limit dextrin.

The yeast debranching enzyme appears to be exclusively oligo-1,4[RIGHTWARDS ARROW]1,4-glucantransferase-amylo-1,6-glucosidase and does not have isoamylase.