The mechanism by which a distinguishing arabinofuranosidase can cope with internal di-substitutions in arabinoxylans
Biotechnology for Biofuels
Arabinoxylan is an abundant polysaccharide in industrially relevant biomasses such as sugarcane, corn stover and grasses. However, the arabinofuranosyl di-substitutions that decorate the xylan backbone are recalcitrant to most known arabinofuranosidases (Abfs). In this work, we identified a novel GH51 Abf (XacAbf51) that forms trimers in solution and can cope efficiently with both mono- and di-substitutions at terminal or internal xylopyranosyl units of arabinoxylan. Using mass spectrometry, the kinetic parameters of the hydrolysis of 33-α-l-arabinofuranosyl-xylotetraose and 23,33-di-α-l-arabinofuranosyl-xylotetraose by XacAbf51 were determined, demonstrating the capacity of this enzyme to cleave arabinofuranosyl linkages of internal mono- and di-substituted xylopyranosyl units. Complementation studies of fungal enzyme cocktails with XacAbf51 revealed an increase of up to 20% in the release of reducing sugars from pretreated sugarcane bagasse, showing the biotechnological potential of a generalist GH51 in biomass saccharification. To elucidate the structural basis for the recognition of internal di-substitutions, the crystal structure of XacAbf51 was determined unveiling the existence of a pocket strategically arranged near to the − 1 subsite that can accommodate a second arabinofuranosyl decoration, a feature not described for any other GH51 Abf structurally characterized so far. In summary, this study reports the first kinetic characterization of internal di-substitution release by a GH51 Abf, provides the structural basis for this activity and reveals a promising candidate for industrial processes involving plant cell wall depolymerization.