Towards an understanding of the enzymatic degradation of complex plant mannan structures

World J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2023 Sep 9;39(11):302. doi: 10.1007/s11274-023-03753-7.


Plant cell walls are composed of a heterogeneous mixture of polysaccharides that require several different enzymes to degrade. These enzymes are important for a variety of biotechnological processes, from biofuel production to food processing. Several classical mannanolytic enzyme functions of glycoside hydrolases (GH), such as β-mannanase, β-mannosidase and α-galactosidase activities, are helpful for efficient mannan hydrolysis. In this light, we bring three enzymes into the model of mannan degradation that have received little or no attention. By linking their three-dimensional structures and substrate specificities, we have predicted the interactions and cooperativity of these novel enzymes with classical mannanolytic enzymes for efficient mannan hydrolysis. The novel exo-β-1,4-mannobiohydrolases are indispensable for the production of mannobiose from the terminal ends of mannans, this product being the preferred product for short-chain mannooligosaccharides (MOS)-specific β-mannosidases. Second, the side-chain cleaving enzymes, acetyl mannan esterases (AcME), remove acetyl decorations on mannan that would have hindered backbone cleaving enzymes, while the backbone cleaving enzymes liberate MOS, which are preferred substrates of the debranching and sidechain cleaving enzymes. The nonhydrolytic expansins and swollenins disrupt the crystalline regions of the biomass, improving their accessibility for AcME and GH activities. Finally, lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases have also been implicated in promoting the degradation of lignocellulosic biomass or mannan degradation by classical mannanolytic enzymes, possibly by disrupting adsorbed mannan residues. Modelling effective enzymatic mannan degradation has implications for improving the saccharification of biomass for the synthesis of value-added and upcycling of lignocellulosic wastes.

PMID:37688610 | PMC:PMC10492685 | DOI:10.1007/s11274-023-03753-7


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