Summary: An endoglucanase gene, , from , previously cloned into pUC19, has been further characterized and its product investigated. The enzyme, EngB, encoded by the gene was secreted into the periplasmic space of . The enzyme was active against carboxymethylcellulose, xylan and lichenan but not Avicel (crystalline cellulose). The sequenced gene showed an open reading frame of 1323 base pairs and coded for a protein with a molecular mass of 48·6 kDa. The mRNA contained a typical Gram-positive ribosome-binding site sequence GGAGG and a sequence coding for a putative signal peptide. There is high amino acid and base sequence homology between the N-terminal regions of EngB and another endoglucanase, EngD, but they differ significantly in their C-termini. Deletion analyses revealed that up to 32 amino acids of the N-terminus and 52 amino acids of the C-terminus were not required for catalytic activity. The conserved reiterated domains at the C-terminus of EngB were similar to those from endoglucanases from other cellulolytic bacteria. According to our deletion analyses, this region is not needed for catalytic activity.


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