Assembly of synthetic functional cellulosomal structures onto the cell surface of Lactobacillus plantarum, a potent member of the gut microbiome

Johanna Stern, Sarah Moraïs, Yonit Ben-David, Rachel Salama, Melina Shamshoum, Raphael Lamed, Yuval Shoham, Edward A. Bayer, Itzhak Mizrahi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Heterologous display of enzymes on microbial cell surfaces is an extremely desirable approach, since it enables the engineered microbe to interact directly with the plant wall extracellular polysaccharide matrix. In recent years, attempts have been made to endow noncellulolytic microbes with genetically engineered cellulolytic capabilities for improved hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass and for advanced probiotics. Thus far, however, owing to the hurdles encountered in secreting and assembling large, intricate complexes on the bacterial cell wall, only free cellulases or relatively simple cellulosome assemblies have been introduced into live bacteria. Here, we employed the "adaptor scaffoldin" strategy to compensate for the low levels of protein displayed on the bacterial cell surface. That strategy mimics natural elaborated cellulosome architectures, thus exploiting the exponential features of their Lego-like combinatorics. Using this approach, we produced several bacterial consortia of Lactobacillus plantarum, a potent gut microbe which provides a very robust genetic framework for lignocellulosic degradation. We successfully engineered surface display of large, fully active self-assembling cellulosomal complexes containing an unprecedented number of catalytic subunits all produced in vivo by the cell consortia. Our results demonstrate that the enzyme stability and performance of the cellulosomal machinery, which are superior to those seen with the equivalent secreted free enzyme system, and the high cellulase-to-xylanase ratios proved beneficial for efficient degradation of wheat straw.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00282-18
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Cellulase
  • Cellulosomes
  • Enzymatic complex
  • Lactic acid bacteria
  • Selfassembly
  • Xylanase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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