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Expression and characterization of spore coat CotH kinases from the cellulosomes of anaerobic fungi (Neocallimastigomycetes)

  • Lillington, Stephen P
  • Hamilton, Matthew
  • Cheng, Jan-Fang
  • Yoshikuni, Yasuo
  • O'Malley, Michelle A
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2023
eScholarship - University of California
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Anaerobic fungi (Neocallimastigomycetes) found in the guts of herbivores are biomass deconstruction specialists with a remarkable ability to extract sugars from recalcitrant plant material. Anaerobic fungi, as well as many species of anaerobic bacteria, deploy multi-enzyme complexes called cellulosomes, which modularly tether together hydrolytic enzymes, to accelerate biomass hydrolysis. While the majority of genomically encoded cellulosomal genes in Neocallimastigomycetes are biomass degrading enzymes, the second largest family of cellulosomal genes encode spore coat CotH domains, whose contribution to fungal cellulosome and/or cellular function is unknown. Structural bioinformatics of CotH proteins from the anaerobic fungus Piromyces finnis shows anaerobic fungal CotH domains conserve key ATP and Mg2+ binding motifs from bacterial Bacillus CotH proteins known to act as protein kinases. Experimental characterization further demonstrates ATP hydrolysis activity in the presence and absence of substrate from two cellulosomal P. finnis CotH proteins when recombinantly produced in E. coli. These results present foundational evidence for CotH activity in anaerobic fungi and provide a path towards elucidating the functional contribution of this protein family to fungal cellulosome assembly and activity.

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