Identification of the initial reactive sites of micellar and non-micellar casein exposed to microbial transglutaminase

Duerasch, Anja, Maja Konieczny, and Thomas Henle. “Identification of the initial reactive sites of micellar and non-micellar casein exposed to microbial transglutaminase.” European Food Research and Technology 248.10 (2022): 2553-2568.


To investigate the influence of the internal micellar structure on the course of enzymatic cross-linking especially in the initial phase of the reaction, casein micelles isolated from raw milk via ultracentrifugation were incubated with microbial transglutaminase (mTG) in comparison with non-micellar sodium caseinate. Reactive lysine and glutamine residues were identified using a label-free approach, based on the identification of isopeptides within tryptic hydrolysates by targeted HRMS as well as manual monitoring of fragmentation spectra. Identified reactive sites were furthermore weighted by tracking the formation of isopeptides over an incubation time of 15, 30, 45 and 60 min, respectively. Fifteen isopeptides formed in the early stage of mTG cross-linking of caseins were identified and further specified concerning the position of lysine and glutamine residues involved in the reaction. The results revealed lysine K176 and glutamine Q175 of β-casein as the most reactive residues, which might be located in a highly flexible region of the molecule based on different possible reaction partners identified in this study. Except for the isopeptide αs1 K34–αs2 Q101 in sodium caseinate (SC), all reactive sites were detected in micellar and in non-micellar casein, indicating that the initial phase of enzymatic cross-linking is not affected by micellar aggregation of caseins.