Studies on reconstituted mixtures of extensively purified cellobiohydrolases I and II and the five major endoglucanases of the fungus Penicillium pinophilum have provided some new information on the mechanism by which crystalline cellulose in the form of the cotton fibre is rendered soluble. It was observed that there was little or no synergistic activity either between purified cellobiohydrolases I and II, or, contrary to previous findings, between the individual cellobiohydrolases and the endoglucanases. Cotton fibre was degraded to a significant degree only when three enzymes were present in the reconstituted enzyme mixture: these were cellobiohydrolases I and II and some specific endoglucanases. The optimum ratio of the cellobiohydrolases was 1:1. Only a trace of endoglucanase activity was required to make the mixture of cellobiohydrolases I and II effective. The addition of cellobiohydrolases I and II individually to endoglucanases from other cellulolytic fungi resulted in little synergistic activity; however, a mixture of endoglucanases and both cellobiohydrolases was effective. It is suggested that current concepts of the mechanism of cellulase action may be the result of incompletely resolved complexes between cellobiohydrolase and endoglucanase activities. It was found that such complexes in filtrates of P. pinophilium or Trichoderma reesei were easily resolved using affinity chromatography on a column of p-aminobenzyl-1-thio-beta-D-cellobioside.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.