About CBMs and the Cellulosome

Some anaerobic microbial organisms assemble a multi-protein complex of Carbohydrate Active enZYmes (CAZYmes) highly efficient for plant cell-wall polysaccharide biodegradation - the Cellulosome. In this assembly, the enzymes are often appended to non-catalytic modules – Carbohydrate Binding Modules (CBMs), which bring the adjoining catalytic modules in contact with target polysaccharides, highly-potentiating the enzymes' catalytic efficiency and the cellulolytic capability of the bacteria.

Bacterial genome sequencing revealed numerous putative CBM sequences, which are deposited in the CAZy database and await elucidation. Combining the high-throughput screening feature of the microarray technology with X-ray crystallography, we are uncovering oligosaccharide ligands for CBMs of biotechnologically relevant cellulolytic bacteria, such as Ruminococcus flavefaciens FD-1 and Clostridium thermocellum.

This project has started in 2003 from a collaboration with Carlos Fontes and José Prates (CIISA-UL) and the results are now described in several publications from peer-reviewed scientific journals.


(Thanks, Diana!)