On the catalytic mechanisms of lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases

Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2016 Apr;31:195-207. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2016.04.001. Epub 2016 Apr 16.


Lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs) are recently discovered copper-containing oxygenases. LPMOs oxidise recalcitrant polysaccharides such as chitin and cellulose, thereby making these substrates more tractable to canonical chitinase or cellulase action. As such, LPMOs are attracting much attention not only for their capacity to greatly increase the efficiency of production of cellulosic-based biofuels, but also for the new questions they pose about the mechanisms of biological oxidation of recalcitrant substrates. This review draws together the current thinking on the catalytic mechanisms of LPMOs and other copper catalysed oxygenations and provides a blueprint for further investigation into the mechanisms of action of these intriguing enzymes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Catalysis
  • Copper / chemistry
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / metabolism*
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism*
  • Superoxides / chemistry


  • Polysaccharides
  • Superoxides
  • Copper
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases