Characterization of a lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase from Aspergillus fumigatus shows functional variation among family AA11 fungal LPMOs
J Biol Chem. 2021 Nov 16:101421. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.101421. Online ahead of print.
The discovery of oxidative cleavage of recalcitrant polysaccharides by lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs) has affected the study and industrial application of enzymatic biomass processing. Despite being widespread in fungi, LPMOs belonging to the auxiliary activity (AA) family AA11 have been understudied. While these LPMOs are considered chitin-active, some family members have little or no activity towards chitin, and the only available crystal structure of an AA11 LPMO lacks features found in bacterial chitin-active AA10 LPMOs. Here, we report structural and functional characteristics of a single-domain AA11 LPMO from Aspergillus fumigatus, AfAA11A. The crystal structure shows a substrate-binding surface with features resembling those of known chitin-active LPMOs. Indeed, despite the absence of a carbohydrate-binding module, AfAA11A has considerable affinity for α- and, more so, β-chitin. AfAA11A is active towards both these chitin allomorphs and enhances chitin degradation by an endo-acting chitinase, in particular for α-chitin. The catalytic activity of AfAA11A on chitin increases when supplying reactions with hydrogen peroxide, showing that, like LPMOs from other families, AfAA11A has peroxygenase activity. These results show that, in stark contrast to the previously characterized AfAA11B from the same organism, AfAA11A likely plays a role in fungal chitin turnover. Thus, members of the hitherto rather enigmatic family of AA11 LPMOs show considerable structural and functional differences and may have multiple roles in fungal physiology.