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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 1995 May-Jun;43(2):291-6.

celA, another gene coding for a multidomain cellulase from the extreme thermophile Caldocellum saccharolyticum.

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  • 1Centre for Gene Technology, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand.


Caldocellum saccharolyticum is an extremely thermophilic anaerobic bacterium capable of growth on cellulose and hemicellulose as sole carbon sources. Cellulase and hemicellulase genes have been found clustered together on its genome. The gene for one of the cellulases (celA) was isolated on a lambda genomic library clone, sequenced and found to comprise a large open-reading frame of 5253 base pairs that could be translated into a peptide of 1751 amino acids. To date, it is the largest cellulase gene sequenced. The translated product is a multidomain structure composed of two catalytic domains and two cellulose-binding domains linked by proline-threonine-rich regions (PT linkers). The N-terminal domain of celA encodes for an endoglucanase activity on carboxymethylcellulose, consistent with its high homology to the sequences of several other endo-1, 4-beta-D-glucanases. The carboxyterminal domain shows sequence homology with a cellulase from Clostridium thermocellum (CelS), which is known to act synergistically with a second component to hydrolyze crystalline cellulose. In the absence of a Caldocellum homologue for this second protein, we can detect no activity from this domain.

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