Discovery of 12-mer peptides that bind to wood lignin
Asako Yamaguchi, Katsuhiro Isozaki, Masaharu Nakamura, Hikaru Takaya, Takashi Watanabe
Lignin, an abundant terrestrial polymer, is the only large-volume renewable feedstock composed of an aromatic skeleton. Lignin has been used mostly as an energy source during paper production; however, recent interest in replacing fossil fuels with renewable resources has highlighted its potential value in providing aromatic chemicals. Highly selective degradation of lignin is pivotal for industrial production of paper, biofuels, chemicals, and materials. However, few studies have examined natural and synthetic molecular components recognizing the heterogeneous aromatic polymer. Here, we report the first identification of lignin-binding peptides possessing characteristic sequences using a phage display technique. The consensus sequence HFPSP was found in several lignin-binding peptides, and the outer amino acid sequence affected the binding affinity of the peptides. Substitution of phenylalanine7 with Ile in the lignin-binding peptide C416 (HFPSPIFQRHSH) decreased the affinity of the peptide for softwood lignin without changing its affinity for hardwood lignin, indicating that C416 recognised structural differences between the lignins. Circular dichroism spectroscopy demonstrated that this peptide adopted a highly flexible random coil structure, allowing key residues to be appropriately arranged in relation to the binding site in lignin. These results provide a useful platform for designing synthetic and biological catalysts selectively bind to lignin.
Circular dichroism, Secondary structure, Ligand binding, Biochemistry