Xylanase A (XYLA) and arabinofuranosidase C (XYLC) from Pseudomonas fluorescens subsp. cellulosa are modular enzymes consisting of discrete cellulose-binding domains (CBDs) and catalytic domains joined by serine-rich linker sequences. To evaluate the role of the CBDs and interdomain regions, the capacity of full-length and truncated derivatives of the two enzymes, lacking either the linker sequences or CBDs, to hydrolyse a range of substrates, and bind to cellulose, was determined. Removal of the CBDs did not affect either the activity of XYLA or XYLC against soluble arabinoxylan. Similarly, deletion of the linker sequences did not alter the affinity of the enzymes for cellulose or their activity against soluble substrates, even when bound to cellulose via the CBDs. Truncated derivatives of XYLA lacking either the linker sequences or the CBD were less active against xylan contained in cellulose-hemicellulose complexes, compared with the full-length xylanase. Similarly, removal of the CBD from XYLC diminished the activity of the enzyme (XYLC´´´) against plant-cell-wall material containing highly substituted arabinoxylan. The role of CBDs and linker sequences in the catalytic activity of hemicellulases against the plant cell wall is discussed.

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