• cellodextrin phosphorylase;
  • substrate specificity;
  • ligand docking;
  • homology modeling


Cellodextrin phosphorylase from Clostridium stercorarium has been recombinantly expressed in Escherichia coli for the first time. Kinetic characterization of the purified enzyme has revealed that aryl and alkyl β-glucosides can be efficiently glycosylated, an activity that has not yet been described for this enzyme class. To obtain a better understanding of the factors that determine the enzyme's specificity, homology modeling and ligand docking were applied. Residue W168 has been found to form a hydrophobic stacking interaction with the substrate in subsite +2, and its importance has been examined by means of site-directed mutagenesis. The mutant W168A retains about half of its catalytic activity, indicating that other residues also contribute to the binding affinity of subsite +2. Finally, residue D474 has been identified as the catalytic acid, interacting with the glycosidic oxygen between subsites −1 and +1. Mutating this residue results in complete loss of activity. These results, for the first time, provide an insight in the enzyme–substrate interactions that determine the activity and specificity of cellodextrin phosphorylases. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2011