Engineered GH for Improved Glycan Polymer Synthesis

Invention Summary:

Oligosaccharides and polysaccharides (or glycans) are complex macromolecules in living systems that serve critical structural and functional roles. In vitro synthesis of these complex biomolecules is very challenging. Glycosytransferases are naturally available enzymes that catalyze the synthesis of glycans, but have poor expression yield, narrow substrate specificity, and use expensive nucleotide sugars.

Rutgers scientists have engineered a multifunctional family 5 glycosyl hydrolase (GH-5 called CelE) from Clostridium thermocellum into a transglycosidase to synthesize diverse glycan-based polymers (e.g., glucans, xylans, mannans). This enzyme is composed of an active site-mutant (CelE-E316G) fused with a unique carbohydrate-binding module and linker peptide at its C-terminus (called CBM3a).

The transglycosylation activity of CelE-E316G is dramatically enhanced when fused with CBM3a to produce cellotriose and cellotetraose from pNP-cellobiose, as demonstrated by the pNP release rate shown in the figure above.

Market Applications:

Production of designer oligosaccharides containing specific monosaccharides and unique glycosidic linkages using engineered enzymes.


  • High transglycosylation activity
  • High expression yield

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Lisa Lyu
Assistant Director
Rutgers University