Thermobifida fusca family-6 cellulases as potential designer cellulosome components

Jonathan Caspi, Diana Irwin, Raphael Lamed, Yuval Shoham, Henri Pierre Fierobe, David Wilson, Edward Bayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the course of our studies on the structure-function relationship of cellulosomes, we were interested in converting the free cellulase system of the aerobic bacterium, Thermobifida fusca, to a cellulosomal system. For this purpose, the cellulose-binding modules (CBM) of two T. fusca family-6 cellulases, endoglucanase Cel6A and exoglucanase Cel6B, were replaced by divergent dockerin modules. Thus far, family-6 cellulases have not been shown to be members of natural cellulosome systems. The resultant chimaeric proteins, 6A-c and t-6B, respectively, were purified and found to interact specifically and stoichiometrically with their corresponding cohesin modules, indicating their suitability for use as components in 'designer cellulosomes'. Both chimaeric enzymes showed somewhat decreased but measurable levels of activity on carboxymethyl cellulose, consistent with the known endo- and exo-glucanase character of the parent enzymes. The activity of 6A-c on phosphoric acid swollen cellulose was also consistent with that of the wild-type endoglucanase Cel6A. The startling finding of the present research was the extent of degradation of this substrate by the chimaeric enzyme t-6B. Wild-type exoglucanase Cel6B exhibited very low activity on this substrate, while the specific activity of t-6B was 14-fold higher than the parent enzyme.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-12
Number of pages10
JournalBiocatalysis and Biotransformation
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Cohesin
  • Dockerin
  • Endoglucanase
  • Exoglucanase cellulosome
  • Glycoside hydrolase


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