Activity and Thermostability of GH5 Endoglucanase Chimeras from Mesophilic and Thermophilic Parents

Joshua Vermaas, Gregg Beckham, Fei Zheng, Jie Zheng, Yuan Wang, Tao Tu, Xiaoyu Wang, Xiangming Xie, Bin Yao, Huiying Luo

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31 Scopus Citations


Cellulases from glycoside hydrolase family 5 (GH5) are key endoglucanase enzymes in the degradation of diverse polysaccharide substrates and are used in industrial enzyme cocktails to break down biomass. The GH5 family shares a canonical (βα) 8 -barrel structure, where each (βα) module is essential for the enzyme's stability and activity. Despite their shared topology, the thermostability of GH5 endoglucanase enzymes can vary significantly, and highly thermostable variants are often sought for industrial applications. Based on the previously characterized thermophilic GH5 endoglucanase Egl5A from Talaromyces emersonii (TeEgl5A), which has an optimal temperature of 90°C, we created 10 hybrid enzymes with elements of the mesophilic endoglucanase Cel5 from Stegonsporium opalus (SoCel5) to determine which elements are responsible for enhanced thermostability. Five of the expressed hybrid enzymes exhibit enzyme activity. Two of these hybrids exhibited pronounced increases in the temperature optimum (10 and 20°C), the temperature at which the protein lost 50% of its activity (T 50 ) (15 and 19°C), and the melting temperature (T m ) (16.5 and 22.9°C) and extended half-lives (t 1/2 ) (~240- and 650-fold at 55°C) relative to the values for the mesophilic parent enzyme and demonstrated improved catalytic efficiency on selected substrates. The successful hybridization strategies were validated experimentally in another GH5 endoglucanase, Cel5 from Aspergillus niger (AnCel5), which demonstrated a similar increase in thermostability. Based on molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of both the SoCel5 and TeEgl5A parent enzymes and their hybrids, we hypothesize that improved hydrophobic packing of the interface between α 2 and α 3 is the primary mechanism by which the hybrid enzymes increase their thermostability relative to that of the mesophilic parent SoCel5.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere02079-18
Number of pages18
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Society for Microbiology.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2700-72982


  • (βα) -barrel structure
  • GH5 endoglucanase
  • Hybrid enzymes
  • Structure-based recombination
  • Thermostability


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