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Applied and Environmental Microbiology


Thayer School of Engineering


Rates of phosphorolytic cleavage of 􏰁-glucan substrates were determined for cell extracts from Clostridium thermocellum ATCC 27405 and were compared to rates of hydrolytic cleavage. Reactions with cellopentaose and cellobiose were evaluated for both cellulose (Avicel)- and cellobiose-grown cultures, with more limited data also obtained for cellotetraose. To measure the reaction rate in the chain-shortening direction at elevated temper- atures, an assay protocol was developed featuring discrete sampling at 60°C followed by subsequent analysis of reaction products (glucose and glucose-1-phosphate) at 35°C. Calculated rates of phosphorolytic cleavage for cell extract from Avicel-grown cells exceeded rates of hydrolytic cleavage by >20-fold for both cellobiose and cellopentaose over a 10-fold range of 􏰁-glucan concentrations (0.5 to 5 mM) and for cellotetraose at a single concentration (2 mM). Rates of phosphorolytic cleavage of 􏰁-glucosidic bonds measured in cell extracts were similar to rates observed in growing cultures. Comparisons of Vmax values indicated that cellobiose- and cellodextrin-phosphorylating activities are synthesized during growth on both cellobiose and Avicel but are subject to some degree of metabolic control. The apparent Km for phosphorolytic cleavage was lower for cellopentaose (mean value for Avicel- and cellobiose-grown cells, 0.61 mM) than for cellobiose (mean value, 3.3 mM).



Original Citation

Zhang YH, Lynd LR. Kinetics and relative importance of phosphorolytic and hydrolytic cleavage of cellodextrins and cellobiose in cell extracts of Clostridium thermocellum. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004 Mar;70(3):1563-9. doi: 10.1128/aem.70.3.1563-1569.2004. PMID: 15006779; PMCID: PMC368386.