Structural and functional studies on secreted glycoside hydrolases produced by clostridium perfringens




Ficko-Blean, Elizabeth

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Clostridium perfringens is a gram positive spore forming anaerobe and a causative agent of gas gangrene, necrotic enteritis (pig-bel) and food poisoning in humans and other animals. This organism secretes a battery of exotoxins during the course of infection as well as a variety of virulence factors which may help to potentiate the activities of the toxins. Among these virulence factors is the μ-toxin, a family 84 glycoside hydrolase which acts to degrade hyaluronan, a component of human connective tissue. C. perfringens has 53 open reading frames encoding glycoside hydrolases. About half of these glycoside hydrolases are predicted to be secreted. Among these are CpGH84C, a paralogue of the μ-toxin, and CpGH89. CpGH89 shares sequence similarity to the human α-N-acetylglucosaminidase, NAGLU, in which mutations can cause a devastating genetic disease called mucopolysaccharidosis IIIB. One striking feature of the secreted glycoside hydrolase enzymes of C. perfringens is their modularity, with modules predicted to be dedicated to catalysis, carbohydrate-binding, protein-protein interactions and cell wall attachment. The extent of the modularity is remarkable, with some enzymes containing up to eight ancillary modules. In order to help understand the role of carbohydrate-active enzymes produced by bacterial pathogens, this thesis will focus on the structure and function of the modular extracellular glycoside hydrolase enzymes secreted by the disease causing bacterium, C. perfringens. These structure function studies examine two family 32 CBMs (carbohydrate-binding modules), one from the μ-toxin and the other from CpGH84C. As well we examine the complete structure of CpGH84C in order to help further our understanding of the structure of carbohydrate-active enzymes as a whole. Finally, the catalytic module of CpGH89 is characterized and its relationship to the human NAGLU enzyme is discussed.



glycoside hydrolase, GH84, carbohydrate binding module, CBM32, Clostridium perfringens, GH89, mucopolysaccharidosis IIIB, Sanfilippo syndrome, NAGLU, modular enzymes