Activity Studies of Eight Purified Cellulases: Specificity, Synergism, and Binding Domain Effects

Biotechnol Bioeng. 1993 Oct;42(8):1002-13. doi: 10.1002/bit.260420811.


The activities of six purified Thermomonospora fusca cellulases and Trichoderma reesei CBHI and CBHII were determined on filter paper, swollen cellulose, and CMC. A simple method to measure the soluble and insoluble reducing sugar products from the hydrolysis of filter paper was found to effectively distinguish between exocellulases and endocellulases. Endocellulases produced 34% to 50% insoluble reducing sugar and exocellulases produced less than 8% insoluble reducing sugar. The ability of a wide variety of mixtures of these cellulases to digest 5.2% of a filter paper disc in 16 h was measured quantitatively. The specific activities of the mixtures varied from 0.41 to 16.31 micromol cellobiose per minute per micromole enzyme. The degree of synergism ranged from 0.4 to 7.8. T. reesei CBHII and T. fusca E3 were found to be functionally equivalent in mixtures. The catalytic domains (cd) of T. fusca endocellulases E2 and E5 were purified and found to retain 93% and 100% of their CMC activity, respectively, but neither cd protein could digest filter paper to 5.2%. When E2cd and E5cd were substituted in synergistic mixtures for the native proteins, the mixtures containing E2cd retained 60%, and those containing E5cd retained 94% of the original activity. Addition of a beta-glucosidase was found to double the activity of the best synergistic mixture. Addition of CBHI to T. fusca crude cellulase increased its activity on filter paper 1.7-fold.