Purification of soluble β-glucan with immune-enhancing activity from the cell wall of yeast

Jung Nam Lee, Do Youn Lee, In Hye Ji, Gi Eun Kim, Hye Nam Kim, Jeongwon Sohn, Sangduk Kim, Chan Wha Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


β-Glucan, one of the major cell wall components of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has been found to enhance immune functions, especially by activating macrophages. However, a major obstacle to the clinical application of β-(1→3)-glucan is its low solubility in aqueous media. In this study, soluble β-glucan, free of mannoprotein, was prepared, and its effects on TNF-α secretion and phagocytosis by macrophages were evaluated. β-Glucan was first rendered soluble from the yeast cell wall by alkaline extraction (glucan-p1). The extract contained 2.8% of protein which was subsequently removed by successive DEAE-cellulose and ConA chromatography. β-Glucan thus prepared was completely free of mannoprotein and was soluble at neutral pH (glucan-p3). The effects of β-glucan on phagocytosis and TNF-α release activity were investigated. While glucan-p1 moderately induced TNF-α secretion at 200 μg/ml (550 pg of TNF-α/5 × 105 cells), glucan-p3 markedly stimulated macrophages at 200 μg/ml (2,860 pg of TNF-α/5 × 105 cells). Furthermore, glucan-p3 stimulated phagocytosis about 20% more than glucan-p1 did. In conclusion, we purified water-soluble β-glucan which was completely devoid of mannoprotein and effectively stimulated the macrophage function, enabling it to be used as an intravenous injection for sepsis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-841
Number of pages5
JournalBioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Apr


  • Macrophage function
  • Mannoprotein
  • Phagocytosis
  • TNF-α
  • β-glucan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Organic Chemistry


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