Characterisation of novel biomass degradation enzymes from the genome of <i>Cellulomonas fimi</i>

Kane, S. D. & French, C. E.
Enzyme and Microbial Technology
Journal publication date: 

Recent analyses of genome sequences belonging to cellulolytic bacteria have revealed many genes potentially coding for cellulosic biomass degradation enzymes. Annotation of these genes however, is based on few biochemically characterised examples. Here we present a simple strategy based on BioBricks for the rapid screening of candidate genes expressed in Escherichia coli. As proof of principle we identified over 70 putative biomass degrading genes from bacterium Cellulomonas fimi, expressing a subset of these in BioBrick format. Six novel genes showed activity in E. coli. Four interesting enzymes were characterised further. α-L-arabinofuranosidase AfsB, β-xylosidases BxyF and BxyH and multi-functional β-cellobiosidase/xylosidase XynF were partially purified to determine their optimum pH, temperature and kinetic parameters. One of these enzymes, BxyH, was unexpectedly found to be highly active at strong alkaline pH and at temperatures as high as 100 °C. This report demonstrates a simple method of quickly screening and characterising putative genes as BioBricks.