The cellulosome is a macromolecular machine, whose components interact in a synergistic manner to catalyze the efficient degradation of cellulose. The cellulosome complex is composed of numerous kinds of cellulases and related enzyme subunits, which are assembled into the complex by virtue of a unique type of scaffolding subunit (scaffoldin). Each of the cellulosomal subunits consists of a multiple set of modules, two classes of which (dockerin domains on the enzymes and cohesin domains on scaffoldin) govern the incorporation of the enzymatic subunits into the cellulosome complex. Another scaffoldin module-the cellulose-binding domain-is responsible for binding to the substrate. Some cellulosomes appear to be tethered to the cell envelope via similarly intricate, multiple-domain anchoring proteins. The assemblage is organized into dynamic polycellulosomal organelles, which adorn the cell surface. The cellulosome dictates both the binding of the cell to the substrate and its extracellular decomposition to soluble sugars, which are then taken up and assimilated by normal cellular processes.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.