A novel starch-binding laccase from the wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici highlights the functional diversity of ascomycete laccases

Majid Haddad Momeni, Paolo Bollella, Roberto Ortiz, Esben Thormann, Lo Gorton, Maher Abou Hachem*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Laccases are multicopper oxidases, which are assigned into auxiliary activity family 1 (AA1) in the CAZy database. These enzymes, catalyzing the oxidation of phenolic and nonphenolic substrates coupled to reduction of O2 to H2O, are increasingly attractive as eco-friendly oxidation biocatalysts. Basidiomycota laccases are well characterized due to their potential in de-lignification of lignocellulose. By contrast, insight into the biochemical diversity of Ascomycota counterparts from saprophytes and plant pathogens is scarce.

Here, we report the properties of the laccase from the major wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici (ZtrLac1A), distinguished from common plant fungal pathogens by an apoplastic infection strategy. We demonstrate that ZtrLac1A is appended to a functional starch-binding module and displays an activity signature disfavoring relatively apolar phenolic redox mediators as compared to the related biochemically characterized laccases. By contrast, the redox potential of ZtrLac1A (370 mV vs. SHE) is similar to ascomycetes counterparts. The atypical specificity is consistent with distinctive sequence substitutions and insertions in loops flanking the T1 site and the enzyme C-terminus compared to characterized laccases.

ZtrLac1A is the first reported modular laccase appended to a functional starch-specific carbohydrate binding module of family 20 (CBM20). The distinct specificity profile of ZtrLac1A correlates to structural differences in the active site region compared to previously described ascomycetes homologues. These differences are also highlighted by the clustering of the sequence of ZtrLac1A in a distinct clade populated predominantly by plant pathogens in the phylogenetic tree of AA1 laccases. The possible role of these laccases in vivo merits further investigations. These findings expand our toolbox of laccases for green oxidation and highlight the binding functionality of CBM-appended laccases as versatile immobilization tags.
Original languageEnglish
Article number61
JournalB M C Biotechnology
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Carbonhydrate binding module family 20 (CBM20)
  • Cyclic voltammograms
  • Laccase
  • Oxidoreductase
  • Plant
  • Pathogen
  • Atarch
  • Zymoseptoria tritici

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