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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2007 Mar;268(2):194-201. Epub 2007 Jan 12.

Two noncellulosomal cellulases of Clostridium thermocellum, Cel9I and Cel48Y, hydrolyse crystalline cellulose synergistically.

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Dept of Microbiology Technische Universitaet Muenchen, Am Hochanger, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany.


The genome of Clostridium thermocellum contains a number of genes for polysaccharide degradation-associated proteins that are not cellulosome bound. The list includes beta-glucanases, glycosidases, chitinases, amylases and a xylanase. One of these 'soluble'-enzyme genes codes for a second glycosyl hydrolase (GH)48 cellulase, Cel48Y, which was expressed in Escherichia coli and biochemically characterized. It is a cellobiohydrolyse with activity on native cellulose such as microcrystalline and bacterial cellulose, and low activity on carboxymethylcellulose. It is about 100 times as active on amorphic cellulose and mixed-linkage barley beta-glucan compared with cellulase Cel9I. The enzyme Cel48Y shows a distinct synergism of 2.1 times with the noncellulosomal processive endoglucanase Cel9I on highly crystalline bacterial cellulose at a 17-fold excess of Cel48Y over Cel9I. These data show that C. thermocellum has, besides the cellulosome, the genes for a second cellulase system for the hydrolysis of crystalline cellulose that is not particle bound.

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