U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


New Insights From Computer Simulations May Improve Biomass Deconstruction
Published: April 13, 2009
Posted: April 24, 2009

Scientists at the DOE BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) have made a significant step in understanding the recalcitrance of biomass to microbial deconstruction. Microbes that break down plant biomass have large extracellular enzyme complexes, known as cellulosomes, that break down plant cell walls.  The BESC team used computational simulations to understand the binding dynamics of two cellulosome proteins that play critical roles in the assembly of the cellulosome.  The simulations included a typical cellulosome complex and one with mutant proteins that cause a major change in protein-protein recognition sites needed for normal assembly of the cellulosome. This information will help BESC researchers redesign cellulosomal modules that can degrade biomass more efficiently than normal cellulosomes. The research, made possible with computational time on the ORNL Kraken Cray XT5 Supercomputer, has just been published online in the journal Protein Science in a paper titled Building a foundation for structure-based cellulosome design for cellulosic ethanol: Insight into cohesin-dockerin complexation from computer simulation, by Jiancong Xu, Michael Crowley, and Jeremy C. Smith.

Contact: Susan Gregurick, SC-23.2, (301) 903-7672
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities
  • Research Area: DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRC)
  • Research Area: Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, Modeling
  • Research Area: Structural Biology, Biomolecular Characterization and Imaging

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER

 

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