- For decades, the enzymes of the fungus Hypocrea jecorina have served as a model system for the breakdown of cellulose. Three-dimensional structures for almost all H. jecorina cellulose-degrading enzymes are available, except for HjLPMO9A, belonging to the AA9 family of lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs). These enzymes enhance the hydrolytic activity of cellulases and are essential for cost-efficient conversion of lignocellulosic biomass. Here, using structural and spectroscopic analyses, we found that native HjLPMO9A contains a catalytic domain and a family-1 carbohydrate-binding module (CBM1) connected via a linker sequence.
- Secreted mixtures of Hypocrea jecorina cellulases are able to efficiently degrade cellulosic biomass to fermentable sugars at large, commercially relevant scales. H. jecorina Cel7A, cellobiohydrolase I, from glycoside hydrolase family 7, is the workhorse enzyme of the process. However, the thermal stability of Cel7A limits its use to processes where temperatures are no higher than 50 °C. Enhanced thermal stability is desirable to enable the use of higher processing temperatures and to improve the economic feasibility of industrial biomass conversion.