ANI Photo | Study finds way of optimising plant enzymes through bioengineering

A novel method of optimising plant enzymes through bioengineering has expanded the understanding of how plant material can be transformed into biofuels, biochemicals, and other high-value goods.
The research was published in Plant Journal.
The work headed by the University of Adelaide proposes novel ideas for how plant cell walls might be constructed, organised, and reformed by manipulating the catalytic function of certain enzymes.
Fundamental plant cell features such as structure, integrity, cytoskeletal organisation, and stability are now regarded in a new light, implying new possibilities.
Researchers were able to better understand how various polysaccharides are linked to form structural components of plant cell walls by studying the catalytic action of specific enzymes – a process known as ‘xyloglucan xyloglucosyl transferases’.
“This work contributes to the essential knowledge of how xyloglucan xyloglucosyl transferases can be understood and their fundamental properties controlled – for example, to improve their catalytic rates and stability,” said project leader Professor Maria Hrmova.
Plant cell walls must be destroyed and the resulting materials chemically treated before they can be used in the generation of biofuels. Cell wall features can be changed to make them less stiff, making biofuel production more efficient and cost-effective.
The discovery has implications for the pharmaceutical business, as enzymes are sought after as environmentally acceptable and cost-effective bioremediation solutions, among other applications.
The removal of impurities, pollutants, and toxins from the environment using living organisms is known as bioremediation.
“Although the definition of the catalytic function of xyloglucan xyloglucosyl transferases has significantly progressed during the past 15 years, there are limitations, and still a lack of information, in how this knowledge can be organically implemented in the functionality of plant cell walls,” she said.
This teamwork builds upon 60 years of xyloglucan chemical and biochemical research of this and other research groups.
The research team used sensitive high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescent reagents to monitor complex biochemical reactions of polysaccharides in an efficient way.
 “We also applied 3D molecular modelling and molecular dynamics simulations to gain insights into the mode of action of these enzymes on fast time scales,” Professor Hrmova said.
“Our findings are supported by plant and cellular biology approaches we used to offer novel ideas on the function of these enzymes in vivo.” (ANI)

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