Publication Type: Journal Article
Source: Methods in Enzymology, Volume 510, p.331-347 (2012)
Microbial degradation of plant cell walls is a critical contributor to the global carbon cycle, and enzymes derived from microbes play a key role in the sustainable biofuels industry. Despite its biological and biotechnological impor- tance, relatively little is known about how microbes degrade plant cell walls. Much of this gap in knowledge has resulted from difficulties in extending modern molecular tools to the study of plant cell wall-degrading microbes. The bacterium Cellvibrio japonicus has recently emerged as a powerful model system for the study of microbial plant cell wall degradation. C. japonicus is unique among microbial model systems in that it possesses the ability to carry out the complete degradation of plant cell wall polysaccharides. Furthermore, an extensive array of genetic and molecular tools exists for functional genomic analysis. In this review, we describe progress in the development of methodol- ogy for the functional genomic study of plant cell wall degradation by this microbe, and discuss future directions for research.