The molecular basis of polysaccharide cleavage by lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Kristian E H Frandsen
  • Thomas J Simmons
  • Paul Dupree
  • Jens-Christian N Poulsen
  • Glyn R Hemsworth
  • Luisa Ciano
  • Esther M Johnston
  • Morten Tovborg
  • Katja S Johansen
  • Pernille von Freiesleben
  • Laurence Marmuse
  • Sébastien Fort
  • Sylvain Cottaz
  • Hugues Driguez
  • Bernard Henrissat
  • Nicolas Lenfant
  • Amgalanbaatar Baldansuren
  • Gideon J Davies
  • Leila Lo Leggio
  • Paul H Walton


Lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs) are copper-containing enzymes that oxidatively break down recalcitrant polysaccharides such as cellulose and chitin. Since their discovery, LPMOs have become integral factors in the industrial utilization of biomass, especially in the sustainable generation of cellulosic bioethanol. We report here a structural determination of an LPMO-oligosaccharide complex, yielding detailed insights into the mechanism of action of these enzymes. Using a combination of structure and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, we reveal the means by which LPMOs interact with saccharide substrates. We further uncover electronic and structural features of the enzyme active site, showing how LPMOs orchestrate the reaction of oxygen with polysaccharide chains.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-303
Number of pages6
JournalNature chemical biology
Issue number4
Early online date29 Feb 2016
StatePublished - Apr 2016