• glycosyl hydrolase family 51;
  • thermostable α-L-arabinofuranosidase;
  • structure;
  • oligomerization;
  • Thermotoga petrophila RKU-1


α-L-arabinofuranosidases (EC participate in the degradation of a variety of L-arabinose-containing polysaccharides and interact synergistically with other hemicellulases in the production of oligosaccharides and bioconversion of lignocellulosic biomass into biofuels. In this work, the structure of a novel thermostable family 51 (GH51) α-L-arabinofuranosidase from Thermotoga petrophila RKU-1 (TpAraF) was determined at 3.1 Å resolution. The TpAraF tertiary structure consists of an (α/β)-barrel catalytic core associated with a C-terminal β-sandwich domain, which is stabilized by hydrophobic contacts. In contrast to other structurally characterized GH51 AraFs, the accessory domain of TpAraF is intimately linked to the active site by a long β-hairpin motif, which modifies the catalytic cavity in shape and volume. Sequence and structural analyses indicate that this motif is unique to Thermotoga AraFs. Small angle X-ray scattering investigation showed that TpAraF assembles as a hexamer in solution and is preserved at the optimum catalytic temperature, 65°C, suggesting functional significance. Crystal packing analysis shows that the biological hexamer encompasses a dimer of trimers and the multiple oligomeric interfaces are predominantly fashioned by polar and electrostatic contacts.