[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clostridium clariflavum is an anaerobic, cellulosome-forming thermophile, containing in its genome genes for a large number of cellulosomal enzyme and a complex scaffoldin system. Previously, we described the major cohesin-dockerin interactions of the cellulosome components, and on this basis a model of diverse cellulosome assemblies was derived. In this work, we cultivated C. clariflavum on cellobiose-, microcrystalline cellulose-, and switchgrass-containing media and isolated cell-free cellulosome complexes from each culture. Gel filtration separation of the cellulosome samples revealed two major fractions, which were analyzed by label-free liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) in order to identify the key players of the cellulosome assemblies therein. From the 13 scaffoldins present in the C. clariflavum genome, 11 were identified, and a variety of enzymes from different glycoside hydrolase and carbohydrate esterase families were identified, including the glycoside hydrolase families GH48, GH9, GH5, GH30, GH11, and GH10. The expression level of the cellulosomal proteins varied as a function of the carbon source used for cultivation of the bacterium. In addition, the catalytic activity of each cellulosome was examined on different cellulosic substrates, xylan and switchgrass. The cellulosome isolated from the microcrystalline cellulose-containing medium was the most active of all the cellulosomes that were tested. The results suggest that the expression of the cellulosome proteins is regulated by the type of substrate in the growth medium. Moreover, both cell-free and cell-bound cellulosome complexes were produced which together may degrade the substrate in a synergistic manner. These observations are compatible with our previously published model of cellulosome assemblies in this bacterium.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cellulosic waste represents a significant and underutilized carbon source for the biofuel industry. Owing to the recalcitrance of crystalline cellulose to enzymatic degradation, it is necessary to design economical methods of liberating the fermentable sugars required for bioethanol production. One route towards unlocking the potential of cellulosic waste lies in a highly complex class of molecular machines, the cellulosomes. Secreted mainly by anaerobic bacteria, cellulosomes are structurally diverse, cell surface-bound protein assemblies that can contain dozens of catalytic components. The key feature of the cellulosome is its modularity, facilitated by the ultra-high affinity cohesin-dockerin interaction. Due to the enormous number of cohesin and dockerin modules found in a typical cellulolytic organism, a major bottleneck in understanding the biology of cellulosomics is the purification of each cohesin- and dockerin-containing component, prior to analyses of their interaction. As opposed to previous approaches, the present study utilized proteins contained in unpurified whole-cell extracts. This strategy was made possible due to an experimental design that allowed for the relevant proteins to be "purified" via targeted affinity interactions as a function of the binding assay. The approach thus represents a new strategy, appropriate for future medium- to high-throughput screening of whole genomes, to determine the interactions between cohesins and dockerins. We have selected the cellulosome of Acetivibrio cellulolyticus for this work due to its exceptionally complex cellulosome systems and intriguing diversity of its cellulosomal modular components. Containing 41 cohesins and 143 dockerins, A. cellulolyticus has one of the largest number of potential cohesin-dockerin interactions of any organism, and contains unusual and novel cellulosomal features. We have surveyed a representative library of cohesin and dockerin modules spanning the cellulosome's total cohesin and dockerin sequence diversity, emphasizing the testing of unusual and previously-unknown protein modules. The screen revealed several novel cell-bound cellulosome architectures, thus expanding on those previously known, as well as soluble cellulose systems that are not bound to the bacterial cell surface. This study sets the stage for screening the entire complement of cellulosomal components from A. cellulolyticus and other organisms with large cellulosome systems. The knowledge gained by such efforts brings us closer to understanding the exceptional catalytic abilities of cellulosomes and will allow the use of novel cellulosomal components in artificial assemblies and in enzyme cocktails for sustainable energy-related research programs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cellulosome is a large extracellular multi-enzyme complex that facilitates the efficient hydrolysis and degradation of crystalline cellulosic substrates. During the course of our studies on the cellulosome of the rumen bacterium Ruminococcus flavefaciens, we focused on the critical ScaA dockerin (ScaADoc), the unique dockerin that incorporates the primary enzyme-integrating ScaA scaffoldin into the cohesin-bearing ScaB adaptor scaffoldin. In the absence of a high-resolution structure of the ScaADoc module, we generated a computational model, and, upon its analysis, we were surprised to discover a putative stacking interaction between an N-terminal Trp and a C-terminal Pro, which we termed intramolecular clasp. In order to verify the existence of such an interaction, these residues were mutated to alanine. Circular dichroism spectroscopy, intrinsic tryptophan and ANS fluorescence, and NMR spectroscopy indicated that mutation of these residues has a destabilizing effect on the functional integrity of the Ca(2+)-bound form of ScaADoc. Analysis of recently determined dockerin structures from other species revealed the presence of other well-defined intramolecular clasps, which consist of different types of interactions between selected residues at the dockerin termini. We propose that this thematic interaction may represent a major distinctive structural feature of the dockerin module.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Select cellulolytic bacteria produce multi-enzymatic cellulosome complexes that bind to the plant cell wall and catalyze its efficient degradation. The multi-modular interconnecting cellulosomal subunits comprise dockerin-containing enzymes that bind cohesively to cohesin-containing scaffoldins. The organization of the modules into functional polypeptides is achieved by intermodular linkers of different lengths and composition, which provide flexibility to the complex and determine its overall architecture.
Using a synthetic biology approach, we systematically investigated the spatial organization of the scaffoldin subunit and its effect on cellulose hydrolysis by designing a combinatorial library of recombinant trivalent designer scaffoldins, which contain a carbohydrate-binding module (CBM) and 3 divergent cohesin modules. The positions of the individual modules were shuffled into 24 different arrangements of chimaeric scaffoldins. This basic set was further extended into three sub-sets for each arrangement with intermodular linkers ranging from zero (no linkers), 5 (short linkers) and native linkers of 27-35 amino acids (long linkers). Of the 72 possible scaffoldins, 56 were successfully cloned and 45 of them expressed, representing 14 full sets of chimaeric scaffoldins. The resultant 42-component scaffoldin library was used to assemble designer cellulosomes, comprising three model C. thermocellum cellulases. Activities were examined using Avicel as a pure microcrystalline cellulose substrate and pretreated cellulose-enriched wheat straw as a model substrate derived from a native source. All scaffoldin combinations yielded active trivalent designer cellulosome assemblies on both substrates that exceeded the levels of the free enzyme systems. A preferred modular arrangement for the trivalent designer scaffoldin was not observed for the three enzymes used in this study, indicating that they could be integrated at any position in the designer cellulosome without significant effect on cellulose-degrading activity. Designer cellulosomes assembled with the long-linker scaffoldins achieved higher levels of activity, compared to those assembled with short-and no-linker scaffoldins.
The results demonstrate the robustness of the cellulosome system. Long intermodular scaffoldin linkers are preferable, thus leading to enhanced degradation of cellulosic substrates, presumably due to the increased flexibility and spatial positioning of the attached enzymes in the complex. These findings provide a general basis for improved designer cellulosome systems as a platform for bioethanol production.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Biotechnology for Biofuels
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The specificity of cohesin-dockerin interactions is critically important for the assembly of cellulosomal enzymes into the multienzyme cellulolytic complex (cellulosome). In order to investigate the origins of the observed specificity, a variety of selected amino acid positions at the cohesin-dockerin interface can be subjected to mutagenesis, and a library of mutants can be constructed. In this chapter, we describe a protein-protein microarray technique based on the high affinity of a carbohydrate-binding module (CBM), attached to mutant cohesins. Using cellulose-coated glass slides, libraries of mutants can be screened for binding to complementary partners. The advantages of this tool are that crude cell lysate can be used without additional purification, and the microarray can be used for screening both large libraries as initial scanning for "positive" plates, and for small libraries, wherein individual colonies are printed on the slide. Since the time-consuming step of purifying proteins can be circumvented, the approach is also appropriate for providing molecular insight into the multicomponent organization of complex cellulosomes.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Methods in enzymology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cellulose-degrading enzyme systems are of significant interest from both a scientific and technological perspective due to the diversity of cellulase families, their unique assembly and substrate binding mechanisms, and their potential applications in several key industrial sectors, notably cellulose hydrolysis for second-generation biofuel production. Particularly fascinating are cellulosomes, the multimodular extracellular complexes produced by numerous anaerobic bacteria. Using single-molecule force spectroscopy, we analyzed the mechanical stability of the intermolecular interfaces between the cohesin and the dockerin modules responsible for self-assembly of the cellulosomal components into the multienzyme complex. The observed cohesin-dockerin rupture forces (>120 pN) are among the highest reported for a receptor-ligand system to date. Using an atomic force microscope protocol that quantified single-molecule binding activity, we observed force-induced dissociation of calcium ions from the duplicated loop-helix F-hand motif located within the dockerin module, which in the presence of EDTA resulted in loss of affinity to the cohesin partner. A cohesin amino acid mutation (D39A) that eliminated hydrogen bonding with the dockerin's critically conserved serine residues reduced the observed rupture forces. Consequently, no calcium loss occurred and dockerin activity was maintained throughout multiple forced dissociation events. These results offer insights at the single-molecule level into the stability and folding of an exquisite class of high-affinity protein-protein interactions that dictate fabrication and architecture of cellulose-degrading molecular machines.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lignocellulosic biomass, the most abundant polymer on Earth, is typically composed of three major constituents: cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. The crystallinity of cellulose, hydrophobicity of lignin, and encapsulation of cellulose by the lignin-hemicellulose matrix are three major factors that contribute to the observed recalcitrance of lignocellulose. By means of designer cellulosome technology, we can overcome the recalcitrant properties of lignocellulosic substrates and thus increase the level of native enzymatic degradation. In this context, we have integrated six dockerin-bearing cellulases and xylanases from the highly cellulolytic bacterium, Thermobifida fusca, into a chimeric scaffoldin engineered to bear a cellulose-binding module and the appropriate matching cohesin modules. The resultant hexavalent designer cellulosome represents the most elaborate artificial enzyme composite yet constructed, and the fully functional complex achieved enhanced levels (up to 1.6-fold) of degradation of untreated wheat straw compared to those of the wild-type free enzymes. The action of these designer cellulosomes on wheat straw was 33 to 42% as efficient as the natural cellulosomes of Clostridium thermocellum. In contrast, the reduction of substrate complexity by chemical or biological pretreatment of the substrate removed the advantage of the designer cellulosomes, as the free enzymes displayed higher levels of activity, indicating that enzyme proximity between these selected enzymes was less significant on pretreated substrates. Pretreatment of the substrate caused an increase in activity for all the systems, and the native cellulosome completely converted the substrate into soluble saccharides.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Microorganisms employ a multiplicity of enzymes to efficiently degrade the composite structure of plant cell wall cellulosic polysaccharides. These remarkable enzyme systems include glycoside hydrolases (cellulases, hemicellulases), polysaccharide lyases, and the carbohydrate esterases. To accomplish this challenging task, several strategies are commonly observed either separately or in combination. These include free enzyme systems, multifunctional enzymes, and multi-enzyme self-assembled designer cellulosome complexes.
In order to compare these different paradigms, we employed a synthetic biology approach to convert two different cellulases from the free enzymatic system of the well-studied bacterium, Thermobifida fusca, into bifunctional enzymes with different modular architectures. We then examined their performance compared to those of the combined parental free-enzyme and equivalent designer-cellulosome systems. The results showed that the cellulolytic activity displayed by the different architectures of the bifunctional enzymes was somewhat inferior to that of the wild-type free enzyme system.
The activity exhibited by the designer cellulosome system was equal or superior to that of the free system, presumably reflecting the combined proximity of the enzymes and high flexibility of the designer cellulosome components, thus enabling efficient enzymatic activity of the catalytic modules.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Biotechnology for Biofuels
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: β-Xylosidases are hemicellulases that hydrolyze short xylo-oligosaccharides into xylose units, thus complementing endoxylanase
degradation of the hemicellulose component of lignocellulosic substrates. Here, we describe the cloning, characterization,
and kinetic analysis of a glycoside hydrolase family 43 β-xylosidase (Xyl43A) from the aerobic cellulolytic bacterium, Thermobifida fusca. Temperature and pH optima of 55–60 °C and 5.5–6, respectively, were determined. The apparent Km value was 0.55 mm, using p-nitrophenyl xylopyranoside as substrate, and the catalytic constant (kcat) was 6.72 s−1. T. fusca Xyl43A contains a catalytic module at the N terminus and an ancillary module (termed herein as Module-A) of undefined function
at the C terminus. We expressed the two recombinant modules independently in Escherichia coli and examined their remaining catalytic activity and binding properties. The separation of the two Xyl43A modules caused the
complete loss of enzymatic activity, whereas potent binding to xylan was fully maintained in the catalytic module and partially
in the ancillary Module-A. Nondenaturing gel electrophoresis revealed a specific noncovalent coupling of the two modules,
thereby restoring enzymatic activity to 66.7% (relative to the wild-type enzyme). Module-A contributes a phenylalanine residue
that functions as an essential part of the active site, and the two juxtaposed modules function as a single functional entity.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During the past several years, major progress has been accomplished in the production of "designer cellulosomes," artificial enzymatic complexes that were demonstrated to efficiently degrade crystalline cellulose. This progress is part of a global attempt to promote biomass waste solutions and biofuel production. In designer cellulosomes, each enzyme is equipped with a dockerin module that interacts specifically with one of the cohesin modules of the chimeric scaffoldin. Artificial scaffoldins serve as docking backbones and contain a cellulose-specific carbohydrate-binding module that directs the enzymatic complex to the cellulosic substrate, and one or more cohesin modules from different natural cellulosomal species, each exhibiting a different specificity, that allows the specific incorporation of the desired matching dockerin-bearing enzymes. With natural cellulosomal components, the insertion of the enzymes in the scaffold would presumably be random, and we would not be able to control the contents of the resulting artificial cellulosome. There are an increasing number of papers describing the production of designer cellulosomes either in vitro, ex vivo, or in vivo. These types of studies are particularly intricate, and a number of such publications are less meaningful in the final analysis, as important controls are frequently excluded. In this chapter, we hope to give a complete overview of the methodologies essential for designing and examining cellulosome complexes.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Methods in enzymology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cellulosome is a large bacterial extracellular multienzyme complex able to degrade crystalline cellulosic substrates. The complex contains catalytic and noncatalytic subunits, interconnected by high-affinity cohesin-dockerin interactions. In this chapter, we introduce an optimized method for comparative binding among different cohesins or cohesin mutants to the dockerin partner. This assay offers advantages over other methods (such as ELISA, cELIA, SPR, and ITC) for particularly high-affinity binding interactions. In this approach, the high-affinity interaction of interest occurs in the liquid phase during the equilibrated binding step, whereas the interaction with the immobilized phase is used only for detection of the unbound dockerins that remain in the solution phase. Once equilibrium conditions are reached, the change in free energy of binding (ΔΔG(binding)), as well as the affinity constant of mutants, can be estimated against the known affinity constant of the wild-type interaction. In light of the above, we propose this method as a preferred alternative for the relative quantification of high-affinity protein interactions.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Methods in enzymology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In nature, the complex composition and structure of the plant cell wall pose a barrier to enzymatic degradation. Nevertheless, some anaerobic bacteria have evolved for this purpose an intriguing, highly efficient multienzyme complex, the cellulosome, which contains numerous cellulases and hemicellulases. The rod-like cellulose component of the plant cell wall is embedded in a colloidal blend of hemicelluloses, a major component of which is xylan. In order to enhance enzymatic degradation of the xylan component of a natural complex substrate (wheat straw) and to study the synergistic action among different xylanases, we have employed a variation of the designer cellulosome approach by fabricating a tetravalent complex that includes the three endoxylanases of Thermobifida fusca (Xyn10A, Xyn10B, and Xyn11A) and an Xyl43A β-xylosidase from the same bacterium. Here, we describe the conversion of Xyn10A and Xyl43A to the cellulosomal mode. The incorporation of the Xyl43A enzyme together with the three endoxylanases into a common designer cellulosome served to enhance the level of reducing sugars produced during wheat straw degradation. The enhanced synergistic action of the four xylanases reflected their immediate juxtaposition in the complex, and these tetravalent xylanolytic designer cellulosomes succeeded in degrading significant (~25%) levels of the total xylan component of the wheat straw substrate. The results suggest that the incorporation of xylanases into cellulosome complexes is advantageous for efficient decomposition of recalcitrant cellulosic substrates—a distinction previously reserved for cellulose-degrading enzymes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cellulose, a major component of plant matter, is degraded by a cell surface multiprotein complex called the cellulosome produced by several anaerobic bacteria. This complex coordinates the assembly of different glycoside hydrolases, via a high-affinity Ca(2+)-dependent interaction between the enzyme-borne dockerin and the scaffoldin-borne cohesin modules. In this study, we characterized a new protein affinity tag, ΔDoc, a truncated version (48 residues) of the Clostridium thermocellum Cel48S dockerin. The truncated dockerin tag has a binding affinity (K(A)) of 7.7 × 10(8)M(-1), calculated by a competitive enzyme-linked assay system. In order to examine whether the tag can be used for general application in affinity chromatography, it was fused to a range of target proteins, including Aequorea victoria green fluorescent protein (GFP), C. thermocellum β-glucosidase, Escherichia coli thioesterase/protease I (TEP1), and the antibody-binding ZZ-domain from Staphylococcus aureus protein A. The results of this study significantly extend initial studies performed using the Geobacillus stearothermophilus xylanase T-6 as a model system. In addition, the enzymatic activity of a C. thermocellum β-glucosidase, purified using this approach, was tested and found to be similar to that of a β-glucosidase preparation (without the ΔDoc tag) purified using the standard His-tag. The truncated dockerin derivative functioned as an effective affinity tag through specific interaction with a cognate cohesin, and highly purified target proteins were obtained in a single step directly from crude cell extracts. The relatively inexpensive beaded cellulose-based affinity column was reusable and maintained high capacity after each cycle. This study demonstrates that deletion into the first Ca(2+)-binding loop of the dockerin module results in an efficient and robust affinity tag that can be generally applied for protein purification.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2010 · Journal of Molecular Recognition