Danish researchers make breakthrough on LPMO enzymes for cellulose tranformation

March 14, 2016 |

In Denmark, one family of enzymes, lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs), ease the transformation of cellulose. Chemists at the University of Copenhagen have now taken a leap ahead in understanding how LPMOs work by showing how these enzymes bind to cellulose. This can be incredibly important for, among other things, the development and production of sustainable biofuels.

Kristian Frandsen, the article’s first author, explains that LPMO eases the path to cellulose for other enzymes, thus making it easier for them to ultimately break the cellulose down. Indeed, understanding the mechanics of this process is crucial.

“We are the first ones to get a picture of an LPMO in the first stage of the breakdown process, and in high resolution no less. Combined with our colleagues’ biochemical and spectroscopic insights, the entire team of researchers has been able to attain a detailed appreciation of the chemical mechanisms. That is, how the enzyme is able to hack away at cellulose at the sub-atomic level.” Frandsen hopes that these insights will make it easier to optimize production of new and even more effective enzymes. “Additionally, the project has provided me with contact to many international experts,” says Frandsen.

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Category: Research

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