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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Joseph Newman,
Professor Rick Lewis,
Emeritus Professor Harry Gilbert,
Dr James Flint
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The microbial degradation of the plant cell wall is of increasing industrial significance, exemplified by the interest in generating biofuels from plant cell walls. The majority of plant cell-wall polysaccharides are acetylated, and removal of the acetyl groups through the action of carbohydrate esterases greatly increases the efficiency of polysaccharide saccharification. Enzymes in carbohydrate esterase family 3 (CE3) are common in plant cell wall-degrading microorganisms but there is a paucity of structural and biochemical information on these biocatalysts. Clostridium thermocellum contains a single CE3 enzyme, CtCes3, which comprises two highly homologous (97% sequence identity) catalytic modules appended to a C-terminal type I dockerin that targets the esterase into the cellulosome, a large protein complex that catalyses plant cell wall degradation. Here, we report the crystal structure and biochemical properties of the N-terminal catalytic module (CtCes3-1) of CtCes3. The enzyme is a thermostable acetyl-specific esterase that exhibits a strong preference for acetylated xylan. CtCes3-1 displays an α/β hydrolase fold that contains a central five-stranded parallel twisted β-sheet flanked by six α-helices. In addition, the enzyme contains a canonical catalytic triad in which Ser44 is the nucleophile, His208 is the acid-base and Asp205 modulates the basic nature of the histidine. The acetate moiety is accommodated in a hydrophobic pocket and the negative charge of the tetrahedral transition state is stabilized through hydrogen bonds with the backbone N of Ser44 and Gly95 and the side-chain amide of Asn124. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd.
Author(s): Correia M, Prates J, Brás J, Fontes C, Newman J, Lewis RJ, Gilbert HJ, Flint JE
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Journal of Molecular Biology
ISSN (print): 0022-2836
ISSN (electronic): 1089-8638
Publisher: Academic Press
PubMed id: 18436237
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