How endoglucanase enzymes act on cellulose nanofibrils: role of amorphous regions revealed by atomistic simulations
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › Scientific › peer-review
|Number of pages||15|
|Early online date||17 Jul 2015|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
|Publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
Transformation of cellulose into monosaccharides can be achieved in a chemical process performed by a special group of enzymes known as cellulases. We have used atomistic molecular dynamics simulations to study endoglucanase II (Cel5A) that is one of the proteins in this group. Based on the atomistic simulation results, we discuss how the Cel5A enzyme interacts with cellulose fibrils comprised of both crystalline and amorphous regions. We show that the enzyme’s carbohydrate-binding domain prefers to interact with crystalline regions of cellulose, while the catalytic domain has a high affinity to the amorphous regions of fibrils. In particular, through electrostatic interactions the catalytic domain attracts loose glucose chains to its catalytic cleft. The atomistic details of the enzyme–cellulose interaction are presented and the implications for practical applications are briefly discussed.