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Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Harry Gilbert,
Dr Vincent McKie,
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Hydrolysis of the plant cell wall polysaccharides cellulose and xylan requires the synergistic interaction of a repertoire of extracellular enzymes. Recently, evidence has emerged that anaerobic bacteria can synthesize high levels of periplasmic xylanases which may be involved in the hydrolysis of small xylooligosaccharides absorbed by the micro-organism. Cellvibrio mixtus, a saprophytic aerobic sail bacterium that is highly active against plant cell wall polysaccharides, was shown to express internal xylanase activity when cultured on media containing xylan or glucose as sole carbon source. A genomic library of C. mixtus DNA, constructed in lambda ZAPII, was screened for xylanase activity. The nucleotide sequence of the genomic insert from a xylanase-positive clone that expressed intracellular xylanase activity in Escherichia coli revealed an ORF of 1137 bp (xynC), encoding a polypeptide with a deduced M-r of 43413, defined as xylanase C (XylC). Probing a gene library of Pseudomonas fluorescens subsp. cellulosa with C. mixtus xynC identified a xynC homologue (designated xynG) encoding XylG; XylC and xynC were 67% and 63% identical to the corresponding C. mixtus sequences, respectively. Both XylC and XylG exhibit extensive sequence identity with family 10 xylanases, particularly with non-modular enzymes, and gene deletion studies on xynC supported the suggestion that they are single-domain xylanases. Purified recombinant XylC had an M-r of 41000, and displayed biochemical properties typical of family 10 polysaccharidases. However, unlike previously characterized xylanases, XylC was particularly sensitive to proteolytic inactivation by pancreatic proteinases and was thermolabile. C. mixtus was grown to late-exponential phase in the presence of glucose or xylan and the cytoplasmic, periplasmic and cell envelope fractions were probed with anti-XylC antibodies. The results showed that XylC was absent from the culture media but was predominantly present in the periplasm of C. mixtus cells grown on glucose, xylan, CM-cellulase or Avicel. These data suggest that C. mixtus can express non-modular internal xylanases whose potential roles in the hydrolysis of plant cell wall components are discussed.
Author(s): Fontes CMGA, Gilbert HJ, Hazlewood GP, Clarke JH, Prates JAM, McKie VA, Nagy T, Fernandes TH, Ferreira LMA
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
ISSN (print): 1350-0872
Publisher: Society for General Microbiology