Starch-binding domains as CBM families-history, occurrence, structure, function and evolution

Štefan Janeček*, Filip Mareček, E. Ann MacGregor, Birte Svensson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The term "starch-binding domain" (SBD) has been applied to a domain within an amylolytic enzyme that gave the enzyme the ability to bind onto raw, i.e. thermally untreated, granular starch. An SBD is a special case of a carbohydrate-binding domain, which in general, is a structurally and functionally independent protein module exhibiting no enzymatic activity but possessing potential to target the catalytic domain to the carbohydrate substrate to accommodate it and process it at the active site. As so-called families, SBDs together with other carbohydrate-binding modules (CBMs) have become an integral part of the CAZy database ( The first two well-described SBDs, i.e. the C-terminal Aspergillus-type and the N-terminal Rhizopus-type have been assigned the families CBM20 and CBM21, respectively. Currently, among the 85 established CBM families in CAZy, fifteen can be considered as families having SBD functional characteristics: CBM20, 21, 25, 26, 34, 41, 45, 48, 53, 58, 68, 69, 74, 82 and 83. All known SBDs, with the exception of the extra long CBM74, were recognized as a module consisting of approximately 100 residues, adopting a β-sandwich fold and possessing at least one carbohydrate-binding site. The present review aims to deliver and describe: (i) the SBD identification in different amylolytic and related enzymes (e.g., CAZy GH families) as well as in other relevant enzymes and proteins (e.g., laforin, the β-subunit of AMPK, and others); (ii) information on the position in the polypeptide chain and the number of SBD copies and their CBM family affiliation (if appropriate); (iii) structure/function studies of SBDs with a special focus on solved tertiary structures, in particular, as complexes with α-glucan ligands; and (iv) the evolutionary relationships of SBDs in a tree common to all SBD CBM families (except for the extra long CBM74). Finally, some special cases and novel potential SBDs are also introduced.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107451
JournalBiotechnology Advances
Issue number8
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Amylolytic enzymes
  • Carbonhydrate-binding module families
  • Raw starch binding residues
  • B-sandwich fold
  • Evolutionary relatedness


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