A novel cell surface-anchored cellulose-binding protein encoded by the sca gene cluster of Ruminococcus flavefaciens

Marco T. Rincon, Tadej Cepeljnik, Jennifer C. Martin, Yoav Barak, Raphael Lamed, Edward A. Bayer, Harry J. Flint*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ruminococcus flavefaciens produces a cellulosomal enzyme complex, based on the structural proteins ScaA, -B, and -C, that was recently shown to attach to the bacterial cell surface via the wall-anchored protein ScaE. ScaA, -B, -C, and -E are all cohesin-bearing proteins encoded by linked genes in the sea cluster. The product of an unknown open reading frame within the sea cluster, herein designated CttA, is similar in sequence at its C terminus to the corresponding region of ScaB, which contains an X module together with a dockerin sequence. The ScaB-XDoc dyad was shown previously to interact tenaciously with the cohesin of ScaE. Likewise, avid binding was confirmed between purified recombinant fragments of the CttA-XDoc dyad and the ScaE cohesin. In addition, the N-terminal regions of CttA were shown to bind to cellulose, thus suggesting that CttA is a cell wall-anchored, cellulose-binding protein. Proteomic analysis showed that the native CttA protein (∼130 kDa) corresponds to one of the three most abundant polypeptides binding tightly to insoluble cellulose in cellulose-grown R. flavefaciens 17 cultures. Interestingly, this protein was also detected among cellulose-bound proteins in the related strain R. flavefaciens 007C but not in a mutant derivative, 007S, that was previously shown to have lost the ability to grow on dewaxed cotton fibers. In R. flavefaciens, the presence of CttA on the cell surface is likely to provide an important mechanism for substrate binding, perhaps compensating for the absence of an identified cellulose-binding module in the major cellulosomal scaffolding proteins of this species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4774-4783
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2007


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