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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2008 Jun;19(3):218-27. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2008.04.008. Epub 2008 May 29.

A biophysical perspective on the cellulosome: new opportunities for biomass conversion.

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Chemical and Biosciences Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO 80401, USA.


The cellulosome is a multiprotein complex, produced primarily by anaerobic microorganisms, which functions to degrade lignocellulosic materials. An important topic of current debate is whether cellulosomal systems display greater ability to deconstruct complex biomass materials (e.g. plant cell walls) than nonaggregated enzymes, and in so doing would be appropriate for improved, commercial bioconversion processes. To sufficiently understand the complex macromolecular processes between plant cell wall polymers, cellulolytic microbes, and their secreted enzymes, a highly concerted research approach is required. Adaptation of existing biophysical techniques and development of new science tools must be applied to this system. This review focuses on strategies likely to permit improved understanding of the bacterial cellulosome using biophysical approaches, with emphasis on advanced imaging and computational techniques.

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