Many cellulose degrading and modifying enzymes have distinct parts called carbohydrate binding modules (CBMs). The CBMs have been shown to increase the concentration of enzymes on the insoluble substrate and thereby enhance catalytic activity. It has been suggested that CBMs also have a role in disrupting or dispersing the insoluble cellulose substrate, but dispute remains and explicit evidence of such a mechanism is lacking. We produced the isolated CBMs from two major cellulases (Cel6A and Cel7A) from Trichoderma reesei as recombinant proteins in Escherichia coli. We then studied the viscoelastic properties of native unmodified cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) in combination with the highly purified CBMs to detect possible functional effects of the CBMs on the CNF. The two CBMs showed clearly different effects on the viscoelastic properties of CNF. The difference in effects is noteworthy, yet it was not possible to conclude for example disruptive effects. We discuss here the alternative explanations for viscoelastic effects on CNF caused by CBMs, including the effect of ionic cosolutes.
- Cellulose nanofibril
- Family 1 carbohydrate binding module