Plant glycosyl hydrolases and biofuels: a natural marriage

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2008 Jun;11(3):329-37. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2008.02.010. Epub 2008 Apr 7.


Much of what is currently known about the structure, properties and biochemical activities of glycosyl hydrolases (GHs) has resulted from detailed studies of microbial enzymes. Conversely, such information is sparse in the plant GH literature, where the focus has traditionally been on studying expression and biological function. However, the current resurgence of interest in lignocellulosic biofuels is catalyzing new interest in this field, and recent reports suggest that some plant GH families have more in common with their microbial counterparts than was previously suspected. The repertoires of plant GHs, with their associated catalytic activities and polysaccharide binding affinities, may have valuable applications in modifying plant cell wall architecture and in the development and characterization of new bioenergy feedstocks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bioelectric Energy Sources
  • Cell Wall / chemistry
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Cellulose / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Glycoside Hydrolases / genetics
  • Glycoside Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Lignin / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*


  • Plant Proteins
  • Cellulose
  • Lignin
  • Glycoside Hydrolases