Synthetic polyester-hydrolyzing enzymes from thermophilic actinomycetes

Adv Appl Microbiol. 2014:89:267-305. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800259-9.00007-X.


Thermophilic actinomycetes produce enzymes capable of hydrolyzing synthetic polyesters such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). In addition to carboxylesterases, which have hydrolytic activity predominantly against PET oligomers, esterases related to cutinases also hydrolyze synthetic polymers. The production of these enzymes by actinomycetes as well as their recombinant expression in heterologous hosts is described and their catalytic activity against polyester substrates is compared. Assays to analyze the enzymatic hydrolysis of synthetic polyesters are evaluated, and a kinetic model describing the enzymatic heterogeneous hydrolysis process is discussed. Structure-function and structure-stability relationships of actinomycete polyester hydrolases are compared based on molecular dynamics simulations and recently solved protein structures. In addition, recent progress in enhancing their activity and thermal stability by random or site-directed mutagenesis is presented.

Keywords: Actinomycetes; Polyester hydrolases; Polyethylene terephthalate; Synthetic polyester; Thermobifida; Thermomonospora.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actinobacteria / enzymology*
  • Actinobacteria / genetics
  • Actinobacteria / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Biocatalysis
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Hydrolases / chemistry
  • Hydrolases / genetics
  • Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Polyesters / chemical synthesis
  • Polyesters / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Polyesters
  • Hydrolases