Discovery and industrial applications of lytic polysaccharide mono-oxygenases
Journal article, 2016
The recent discovery of copper-dependent lytic polysaccharide mono-oxygenases (LPMOs) has opened up a vast area of research covering several fields of application. The biotech company Novozymes A/S holds patents on the use of these enzymes for the conversion of steam-pre-treated plant residues such as straw to free sugars. These patents predate the correct classification of LPMOs and the striking synergistic effect of fungal LPMOs when combined with canonical cellulases was discovered when fractions of fungal secretomes were evaluated in industrially relevant enzyme performance assays. Today, LPMOs are a central component in the Cellic CTec enzyme products which are used in several large-scale plants for the industrial production of lignocellulosic ethanol. LPMOs are characterized by an N-terminal histidine residue which, together with an internal histidine and a tyrosine residue, co-ordinates a single copper atom in a so-called histidine brace. The mechanism by which oxygen binds to the reduced copper atom has been reported and the general mechanism of copper-oxygen-mediated activation of carbon is being investigated in the light of these discoveries. LPMOs are widespread in both the fungal and the bacterial kingdoms, although the range of action of these enzymes remains to be elucidated. However, based on the high abundance of LPMOs expressed by microbes involved in the decomposition of organic matter, the importance of LPMOs in the natural carbon-cycle is predicted to be significant. In addition, it has been suggested that LPMOs play a role in the pathology of infectious diseases such as cholera and to thus be relevant in the field of medicine.
Lytic polysaccharide mono-oxygenase (LPMO)
Glycoside hydrolase family 61 (GH61)