Cellulase linkers are optimized based on domain type and function: insights from sequence analysis, biophysical measurements, and molecular simulation.
ABSTRACT: Cellulase enzymes deconstruct cellulose to glucose, and are often comprised of glycosylated linkers connecting glycoside hydrolases (GHs) to carbohydrate-binding modules (CBMs). Although linker modifications can alter cellulase activity, the functional role of linkers beyond domain connectivity remains unknown. Here we investigate cellulase linkers connecting GH Family 6 or 7 catalytic domains to Family 1 or 2 CBMs, from both bacterial and eukaryotic cellulases to identify conserved characteristics potentially related to function. Sequence analysis suggests that the linker lengths between structured domains are optimized based on the GH domain and CBM type, such that linker length may be important for activity. Longer linkers are observed in eukaryotic GH Family 6 cellulases compared to GH Family 7 cellulases. Bacterial GH Family 6 cellulases are found with structured domains in either N to C terminal order, and similar linker lengths suggest there is no effect of domain order on length. O-glycosylation is uniformly distributed across linkers, suggesting that glycans are required along entire linker lengths for proteolysis protection and, as suggested by simulation, for extension. Sequence comparisons show that proline content for bacterial linkers is more than double that observed in eukaryotic linkers, but with fewer putative O-glycan sites, suggesting alternative methods for extension. Conversely, near linker termini where linkers connect to structured domains, O-glycosylation sites are observed less frequently, whereas glycines are more prevalent, suggesting the need for flexibility to achieve proper domain orientations. Putative N-glycosylation sites are quite rare in cellulase linkers, while an N-P motif, which strongly disfavors the attachment of N-glycans, is commonly observed. These results suggest that linkers exhibit features that are likely tailored for optimal function, despite possessing low sequence identity. This study suggests that cellulase linkers may exhibit function in enzyme action, and highlights the need for additional studies to elucidate cellulase linker functions.
Project description:Fungi and bacteria secrete glycoprotein cocktails to deconstruct cellulose. Cellulose-degrading enzymes (cellulases) are often modular, with catalytic domains for cellulose hydrolysis and carbohydrate-binding modules connected by linkers rich in serine and threonine with O-glycosylation. Few studies have probed the role that the linker and O-glycans play in catalysis. Since different expression and growth conditions produce different glycosylation patterns that affect enzyme activity, the structure-function relationships that glycosylation imparts to linkers are relevant for understanding cellulase mechanisms. Here, the linker of the Trichoderma reesei Family 7 cellobiohydrolase (Cel7A) is examined by simulation. Our results suggest that the Cel7A linker is an intrinsically disordered protein with and without glycosylation. Contrary to the predominant view, the O-glycosylation does not change the stiffness of the linker, as measured by the relative fluctuations in the end-to-end distance; rather, it provides a 16 Å extension, thus expanding the operating range of Cel7A. We explain observations from previous biochemical experiments in the light of results obtained here, and compare the Cel7A linker with linkers from other cellulases with sequence-based tools to predict disorder. This preliminary screen indicates that linkers from Family 7 enzymes from other genera and other cellulases within T. reesei may not be as disordered, warranting further study.
Project description:The assumption that cellulose degradation and assimilation can only be carried out by heterotrophic organisms was shattered in 2012 when it was discovered that the unicellular green alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (Cr), can utilize cellulose for growth under CO?-limiting conditions. Publications of genomes/transcriptomes of the colonial microalgae, Gonium pectorale (Gp) and Volvox carteri (Vc), between 2010?2016 prompted us to look for cellulase genes in these algae and to compare them to cellulases from bacteria, fungi, lower/higher plants, and invertebrate metazoans. Interestingly, algal catalytic domains (CDs), belonging to the family GH9, clustered separately and showed the highest (33?42%) and lowest (17?36%) sequence identity with respect to cellulases from invertebrate metazoans and bacteria, respectively, whereas the identity with cellulases from plants was only 27?33%. Based on comparative multiple alignments and homology models, the domain arrangement and active-site architecture of algal cellulases are described in detail. It was found that all algal cellulases are modular, consisting of putative novel cysteine-rich carbohydrate-binding modules (CBMs) and proline/serine-(PS) rich linkers. Two genes were found to encode a protein with a putative Ig-like domain and a cellulase with an unknown domain, respectively. A feature observed in one cellulase homolog from Gp and shared by a spinach cellulase is the existence of two CDs separated by linkers and with a C-terminal CBM. Dockerin and Fn-3-like domains, typically found in bacterial cellulases, are absent in algal enzymes. The targeted gene expression analysis shows that two Gp cellulases consisting, respectively, of a single and two CDs were upregulated upon filter paper addition to the medium.
Project description:Background:The non-productive adsorption of cellulases onto lignin in biomass is a key issue for the biofuel process economy. It would be helpful to reduce the inhibitory effect of lignin on enzymatic hydrolysis by engineering weak lignin-binding cellulases. Cellulase linkers are highly divergent in their lengths, compositions, and glycosylations. Numerous studies have revealed that linkers can facilitate optimal interactions between structured domains. Recently, efforts have focused on the contributions and mechanisms of carbohydrate-binding modules and catalytic domains that affect lignin affinity and processivity of cellulases, but our understanding of the effects of the linker regions on lignin adsorption and processivity of GH5 processive endoglucanases is still limited. Results:Eight GH5 endoglucanase 1 variants of varying length, flexibility, and sequence in the linker region were constructed. Their characteristics were then compared to the wild-type enzyme (EG1). Remarkably, significant differences in the lignin adsorption profiles and processivities were observed for EG1 and other variants. Our studies suggest that either the length or the specific amino acid composition of the linker has a prominent influence on the lignin-binding affinity of the enzymes. Comparatively, the processivity may depend primarily on the length of the linker and less so on the specific amino acid composition. EG1-ApCel5A, a variant with better performance in enzymatic hydrolysis in the presence of lignin, was obtained by replacing a longer, flexible linker. In total, up to between 28.2 and 30.1% more reducing sugars were generated from filter paper by EG1-ApCel5A in the presence of lignin compared to EG1. Conclusions:Our results highlight the relevance of the linker region in the lignin adsorption and processivity of a processive endoglucanase. Our findings suggest that the linker region may be used as a target for the design of more active and weaker lignin-binding cellulases.
Project description:Cellulases are important glycosyl hydrolases (GHs) that hydrolyze cellulose polymers into smaller oligosaccharides by breaking the cellulose beta (1-->4) bonds, and they are widely used to produce cellulosic ethanol from the plant biomass. N-linked and O-linked glycosylations were proposed to impact the catalytic efficiency, cellulose binding affinity and the stability of cellulases based on observations of individual cellulases. As far as we know, there has not been any systematic analysis of the distributions of N-linked and O-linked glycosylated residues in cellulases, mainly due to the limited annotations of the relevant functional domains and the glycosylated residues. We have computationally annotated the functional domains and glycosylated residues in cellulases, and conducted a systematic analysis of the distributions of the N-linked and O-linked glycosylated residues in these enzymes. Many N-linked glycosylated residues were known to be in the GH domains of cellulases, but they are there probably just by chance, since the GH domain usually occupies more than half of the sequence length of a cellulase. Our analysis indicates that the O-linked glycosylated residues are significantly enriched in the linker regions between the carbohydrate binding module (CBM) domains and GH domains of cellulases. Possible mechanisms are discussed.
Project description:The conversion of renewable cellulosic biomass is of considerable interest for the production of biofuels and materials. The bottleneck in the efficient conversion is the compactness and resistance of crystalline cellulose. Carbohydrate-binding modules (CBMs), which disrupt crystalline cellulose via non-hydrolytic mechanisms, are expected to overcome this bottleneck. However, the lack of convenient methods for quantitative analysis of the disruptive functions of CBMs have hindered systematic studies and molecular modifications. Here we established a practical and systematic platform for quantifying and comparing the non-hydrolytic disruptive activities of CBMs via the synergism of CBMs and a catalytic module within designed chimeric cellulase molecules. Bioinformatics and computational biology were also used to provide a deeper understanding. A convenient vector was constructed to serve as a cellulase matrix into which heterologous CBM sequences can be easily inserted. The resulting chimeric cellulases were suitable for studying disruptive functions, and their activities quantitatively reflected the disruptive functions of CBMs on crystalline cellulose. In addition, this cellulase matrix can be used to construct novel chimeric cellulases with high hydrolytic activities toward crystalline cellulose.
Project description:Cellulases catalyze the hydrolysis of cellulose, the major constituent of plant biomass and the most abundant organic polymer on earth. Cellulases are modular enzymes containing catalytic domains connected, via linker sequences, to noncatalytic carbohydrate-binding modules (CBMs). A putative modular endo-?-1,4-glucanase (BhCel5B) is encoded at locus BH0603 in the genome of Bacillus halodurans. It is composed of an N-terminal glycoside hydrolase family 5 catalytic module (GH5) followed by an immunoglobulin-like module and a C-terminal family 46 CBM (BhCBM46). Here, the crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of the trimodular BhCel5B are reported. The crystals of BhCel5B belonged to the orthorhombic space group P2121 2 and data were processed to a resolution of 1.64?Å. A molecular-replacement solution has been found.
Project description:Background:Surfactants have attracted increasing interest for their capability to improve the enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass. Compared to chemical surfactants, biosurfactants have a broader prospect for industrial applications because they are more environmentally friendly and more effective in some researches. Commercial cellulase preparations are mainly composed of endoglucanases (EGs) and cellobiohydrolases (CBHs) that possess carbohydrate-binding modules (CBMs). However, the effects of lipopeptide-type biosurfactants on enzymatic saccharification of lignocellulose and adsorption behaviors of cellulases with CBMs remain unclear. Results:In this study, we found that Bacillus sp. W112 could produce a lipopeptide-type biosurfactant from untreated biomass, such as wheat bran and Jerusalem artichoke tuber. The lipopeptide could enhance the enzymatic hydrolysis of dilute acid pretreated Giant Juncao grass (DA-GJG) by fungal and bacterial enzymes. The enhancement increased over a range of temperatures from 30 to 50 °C. Lipopeptide was shown to be more effective in promoting DA-GJG saccharification than chemical surfactants at low dosages, with a best stimulatory degree of 20.8% at 2% loading of the substrates (w/w). Lipopeptide increased the thermostability of EG and CBH in commercial cellulase cocktails. Moreover, the dual effects of lipopeptide on the adsorption behaviors of cellulases were found. It specifically lowered the non-productive binding of cellulases to lignin and increased the binding of cellulases to cellulose. In addition, we investigated the influence of lipopeptide on the adsorption behaviors of CBHs with CBMs for the first time. Our results showed that lipopeptide reduced the adsorption of CBM-deleted CBH to DA-GJG to a greater extent than that of intact CBH while the non-productive binding of intact CBH to lignin was reduced more, indicating that lipopeptide decreased the binding of CBMs onto lignin but not their combination with cellulose. Conclusions:In this study, we found that lipopeptide from Bacillus sp. W112 promoted the enzymatic hydrolysis of DA-GJG at relative low loadings. The stimulatory effect could be attributed to increasing the cellulase thermostability, reducing non-productive adsorption of cellulases with CBMs caused by lignin and enhancing the binding of cellulases to cellulose.
Project description:Plant cell-wall polysaccharides represent a vast source of food in nature. To depolymerize polysaccharides to soluble sugars, many organisms use multifunctional enzyme mixtures consisting of glycoside hydrolases, lytic polysaccharide mono-oxygenases, polysaccharide lyases, and carbohydrate esterases, as well as accessory, redox-active enzymes for lignin depolymerization. Many of these enzymes that degrade lignocellulose are multimodular with carbohydrate-binding modules (CBMs) and catalytic domains connected by flexible, glycosylated linkers. These linkers have long been thought to simply serve as a tether between structured domains or to act in an inchworm-like fashion during catalytic action. To examine linker function, we performed molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of the Trichoderma reesei Family 6 and Family 7 cellobiohydrolases (TrCel6A and TrCel7A, respectively) bound to cellulose. During these simulations, the glycosylated linkers bind directly to cellulose, suggesting a previously unknown role in enzyme action. The prediction from the MD simulations was examined experimentally by measuring the binding affinity of the Cel7A CBM and the natively glycosylated Cel7A CBM-linker. On crystalline cellulose, the glycosylated linker enhances the binding affinity over the CBM alone by an order of magnitude. The MD simulations before and after binding of the linker also suggest that the bound linker may affect enzyme action due to significant damping in the enzyme fluctuations. Together, these results suggest that glycosylated linkers in carbohydrate-active enzymes, which are intrinsically disordered proteins in solution, aid in dynamic binding during the enzymatic deconstruction of plant cell walls.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Energy shortage has become a global problem. Production of biofuels from renewable biomass resources is an inevitable trend of sustainable development. Cellulose is the most abundant and renewable resource in nature. Lack of new cellulases with unique properties has become the bottleneck of the efficient utilization of cellulose. Environmental metagenomes are regarded as huge reservoirs for a variety of cellulases. However, new cellulases cannot be obtained easily by functional screening of metagenomic libraries. RESULTS:In this work, a metagenomics-guided strategy for obtaining new cellulases from the metagenome was proposed. Metagenomic sequences of DNA extracted from the anaerobic beer lees converting consortium enriched at thermophilic conditions were assembled, and 23 glycoside hydrolase (GH) sequences affiliated with the GH family 5 were identified. Among the 23 GH sequences, three target sequences (designated as cel7482, cel3623 and cel36) showing low identity with those known GHs were chosen as the putative cellulase genes to be functionally expressed in Escherichia coli after PCR cloning. The three cellulases were classified into endo-?-1,4-glucanases by product pattern analysis. The recombinant cellulases were more active at pH 5.5 and within a temperature range of 60-70 °C. Computer-assisted 3D structure modeling indicated that the active residues in the active site of the recombinant cellulases were more similar to each other compared with non-active site residues. The recombinant cel7482 was extremely tolerant to 2 M NaCl, suggesting that cel7482 may be a halotolerant cellulase. Moreover, the recombinant cel7482 was shown to have an ability to resist three ionic liquids (ILs), which are widely used for cellulose pretreatment. Furthermore, active cel7482 was secreted by the twin-arginine translocation (Tat) pathway of Bacillus subtilis 168 into the culture medium, which facilitates the subsequent purification and reduces the formation of inclusion body in the context of overexpression. CONCLUSIONS:This study demonstrated a simple and efficient method for direct cloning of new cellulase genes from environmental metagenomes. In the future, the metagenomics-guided strategy may be applied to the high-throughput screening of new cellulases from environmental metagenomes.
Project description:Three endoglucanase genes, designated the rce1, rce2, and rce3 genes, were isolated from Rhizopus oryzae as the first cellulase genes from the subdivision ZYGOMYCOTA: All the amino acid sequences deduced from the rce1, rce2, and rce3 genes consisted of three distinct domains: cellulose binding domains, linker domains, and catalytic domains belonging to glycosyl hydrolase family 45. The rce3 gene had two tandem repeated sequences of cellulose binding domains, while rce1 and rce2 had only one. rce1, rce2, and rce3 had various lengths of linker sequences.