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Background. The anaerobic gut fungi (phylum Neocallimastigomycota) represent a promising source of novel lignocellulolytic enzymes. Here, we report on the cloning, expression, and characterization of a glycoside hydrolase family 39 (GH39) enzyme (Bgxg1) that is highly transcribed by the anaerobic fungus Orpinomyces sp. strain C1A under different growth conditions. This represents the first study of a GH39-family enzyme from the anaerobic fungi. Methods. Using enzyme activity assays, we performed a biochemical characterization of Bgxg1 on a variety of substrates over a wide range of pH and temperature values to identify the optimal enzyme conditions and the specificity of the enzyme. In addition, substrate competition studies and comparative modeling efforts were completed. Results. Contrary to the narrow range of activities (β-xylosidase or α-L-iduronidase) observed in previously characterized GH39 enzymes, Bgxg1 is unique in that it is multifunctional, exhibiting strong β-xylosidase, β-glucosidase, β-galactosidase activities (11.5 ± 1.2, 73.4 ± 7.15, and 54.6 ± 2.26 U/mg, respectively) and a weak xylanase activity (10.8 ± 1.25 U/mg), strength determined as compared to previously characterized enzymes. Physiological characterization revealed that Bgxg1 is active over a wide range of pH (3-8, optimum 6) and temperatures (25-60°C, optimum 39°C), and possesses excellent temperature and thermal stability. Substrate competition assays suggest that all observed activities occur at a single active site. Using comparative modeling and bioinformatics approaches, we putatively identified ten amino acid differences between Bgxg1 and previously biochemically characterized GH39 β-xylosidases that we speculate could impact active site architecture, size, charge, and/or polarity. The putative contributions of these changes to the observed relaxed specificities in Bgxg1 are discussed. Discussion. Collectively, the unique capabilities and multi-functionality of Bgxg1 render it an excellent candidate for inclusion in enzyme cocktails mediating cellulose and hemicellulose saccharification from lignocellulosic biomass.