Two tandem cellulosome-associated genes were identified in the cellulolytic rumen bacterium, Ruminococcus flavefaciens. The deduced gene products represent multimodular scaffoldin-related proteins (termed ScaA and ScaB), both of which include several copies of explicit cellulosome signature sequences. The scaB gene was completely sequenced, and its upstream neighbor scaA was partially sequenced. The sequenced portion of scaA contains repeating cohesin modules and a C-terminal dockerin domain. ScaB contains seven relatively divergent cohesin modules, two extremely long T-rich linkers, and a C-terminal domain of unknown function. Collectively, the cohesins of ScaA and ScaB are phylogenetically distinct from the previously described type I and type II cohesins, and we propose that they define a new group, which we designated here type III cohesins, Selected modules from both genes were overexpressed in Escherichia coli, and the recombinant proteins were used as probes in affinity-blotting experiments. The results strongly indicate that ScaA serves as a cellulosomal scaffoldin-like protein for several R. flavefaciens enzymes. The data are supported by the direct interaction of a recombinant ScaA cohesin with an expressed dockerin-containing enzyme construct from the same bacterium. The evidence also demonstrates that the ScaA dockerin binds to a specialized cohesin(s) on ScaB, suggesting that ScaB may act as an anchoring protein, linked either directly or indirectly to the bacterial cell surface. This study is the first direct demonstration in a cellulolytic rumen bacterium of a cellulosome system, mediated by distinctive cohesin-dockerin interactions.
- secondary structure
- dockerin domain