Many agricultural and industrial food by-products are rich in cellulose and xylan. Their enzymatic degradation into monosaccharides is seen as a basis for the production of biofuels and bio-based chemicals. Lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs) constitute a group of recently discovered enzymes, classified as the auxiliary activity subgroups AA9, AA10, AA11 and AA13 in the CAZy database. LPMOs cleave cellulose, chitin, starch and β-(1 → 4)-linked substituted and non-substituted glucosyl units of hemicellulose under formation of oxidized gluco-oligosaccharides.
Here, we demonstrate a new LPMO, obtained from Myceliophthora thermophila C1 (MtLPMO9A). This enzyme cleaves β-(1 → 4)-xylosyl bonds in xylan under formation of oxidized xylo-oligosaccharides, while it simultaneously cleaves β-(1 → 4)-glucosyl bonds in cellulose under formation of oxidized gluco-oligosaccharides. In particular, MtLPMO9A benefits from the strong interaction between low substituted linear xylan and cellulose. MtLPMO9A shows a strong synergistic effect with endoglucanase I (EGI) with a 16-fold higher release of detected oligosaccharides, compared to the oligosaccharides release of MtLPMO9A and EGI alone.
Now, for the first time, we demonstrate the activity of a lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase (MtLPMO9A) that shows oxidative cleavage of xylan in addition to cellulose. The ability of MtLPMO9A to cleave these rigid regions provides a new paradigm in the understanding of the degradation of xylan-coated cellulose. In addition, MtLPMO9A acts in strong synergism with endoglucanase I. The mode of action of MtLPMO9A is considered to be important for loosening the rigid xylan–cellulose polysaccharide matrix in plant biomass, enabling increased accessibility to the matrix for hydrolytic enzymes. This discovery provides new insights into how to boost plant biomass degradation by enzyme cocktails for biorefinery applications.
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