Critical reviews in microbiology

Pullulan degrading enzymes of bacterial origin.

PMID 15239382


Pullulan degrading enzymes belong to a group of glycosylhydrolases that are widely distributed in nature and are produced by an extremely wide variety of species. Among them the thermophilic and mesophilic bacteria are a rich source of these enzymes. There are many biotechnological applications for these enzymes and a rapidly growing amount of information about their diversity, genetic as well as biochemical and biophysical characteristics. The properties of these enzymes vary and are somewhat linked to the natural environment inhabited by the producing organisms. Genes for these enzymes have been cloned from several strains and their amino acid sequences show highly conserved regions common to the enzymes of the amylase family. Molecular studies have greatly extended our knowledge on pullulan degrading enzymes and their biosynthesis. However, enzyme production levels have usually not been as high as had been assumed possible, and the properties of some enzymes are less than optimal for their industrial applications. Some of these problems can be overcome with the use of good producer organisms, optimized expression/secretion vectors, and site-directed mutagenesis. The molecular biology of pullulan degrading enzymes has been and continues to be a valuable system for studying basic questions of cell biology, such as mechanisms of gene regulation and secretion, and the structure-function relationships of proteins.