Fungal glucuronoyl esterases: Genome mining based enzyme discovery and biochemical characterization

Adiphol Dilokpimol, Miia R. Mäkelä, Gabriella Cerullo, Miaomiao Zhou, Simona Varriale, Loknath Gidijala, Joana L A Brás, Peter Jütten, Alexander Piechot, Raymond Verhaert, Vincenza Faraco, Kristiina S. Hilden (Corresponding Author), Ronald P de Vries (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


4-O-Methyl-d-glucuronic acid (MeGlcA) is a side-residue of glucuronoarabinoxylan and can form ester linkages to lignin, contributing significantly to the strength and rigidity of the plant cell wall. Glucuronoyl esterases (4-O-methyl-glucuronoyl methylesterases, GEs) can cleave this ester bond, and therefore may play a significant role as auxiliary enzymes in biomass saccharification for the production of biofuels and biochemicals. GEs belong to a relatively new family of carbohydrate esterases (CE15) in the CAZy database (, and so far around ten fungal GEs have been characterized. To explore additional GE enzymes, we used a genome mining strategy. BLAST analysis with characterized GEs against approximately 250 publicly accessible fungal genomes identified more than 150 putative fungal GEs, which were classified into eight phylogenetic sub-groups. To validate the genome mining strategy, 21 selected GEs from both ascomycete and basidiomycete fungi were heterologously produced in Pichia pastoris. Of these enzymes, 18 were active against benzyl d-glucuronate demonstrating the suitability of our genome mining strategy for enzyme discovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-287
Number of pages6
JournalNew Biotechnology
Issue numberPt B
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Fungi
  • Genome mining
  • Glucuronic acid
  • Glucuronoyl esterase
  • Plant cell wall


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