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Crystal Structure and Biochemical Characterization of the Recombinant ThBgl, a GH1 ²-Glucosidase Overexpressed in Trichoderma harzianum Under Biomass Degradation Conditions


The conversion of biomass-derived sugars via enzymatic hydrolysis for biofuel production is a challenge. Therefore, the search for microorganisms and key enzymes that increase the efficiency of the saccharification of cellulosic substrates remains an important and high-priority area of study. Trichoderma harzianum is an important fungus known for producing high levels of cellulolytic enzymes that can be used for cellulosic ethanol production. In this context, ²-glucosidases, which act synergistically with cellobiohydrolases and endo-²-1,4-glucanases in the saccharification process, are potential biocatalysts for the conversion of plant biomass to free glucose residues.In the present study, we used RNA-Seq and genomic data to identify the major ²-glucosidase expressed by T. harzianum under biomass degradation conditions. We mapped and quantified the expression of all of the ²-glucosidases from glycoside hydrolase families 1 and 3, and we identified the enzyme with the highest expression under these conditions. The target gene was cloned and heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli, and the recombinant protein (rThBgl) was purified with high yields and at a low cost. rThBgl was characterized using a comprehensive set of biochemical, spectroscopic and hydrodynamic techniques. Finally, we determined the crystallographic structure of the recombinant protein at a resolution of 2.6 Å. Using a rational approach, we investigated the biochemical characteristics and determined the three-dimensional protein structure of a b-glucosidase that is highly expressed by T. harzianum under biomass degradation conditions. The methodology described in this manuscript will be useful for the bioprospection of key enzymes, including cellulases and other accessory enzymes, for the development and/or improvement of enzymatic cocktails designed to produce ethanol from plant biomass. (AU)

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