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Amylase family

Starch is a major storage product of many economically important crops such as wheat, rice, maize, tapioca, and
potato. A large-scale starch processing industry has emerged in the last century. In the past decades, we have seen a
shift from the acid hydrolysis of starch to the use of starch-converting enzymes in the production of maltodextrin,
modified starches, or glucose and fructose syrups. Currently, these enzymes comprise about 30% of the world’s
enzyme production. Besides the use in starch hydrolysis, starch-converting enzymes are also used in a number of other
industrial applications, such as laundry and porcelain detergents or as anti-staling agents in baking. A number of
these starch-converting enzymes belong to a single family: the -amylase family or family13 glycosyl hydrolases. This
group of enzymes share a number of common characteristics such as a (/)8 barrel structure, the hydrolysis or
formation of glycosidic bonds in the conformation, and a number of conserved amino acid residues in the active
site. As many as 21 different reaction and product specificities are found in this family. Currently, 25 three-dimensional
(3D) structures of a few members of the -amylase family have been determined using protein crystallization
and X-ray crystallography. These data in combination with site-directed mutagenesis studies have helped to better
understand the interactions between the substrate or product molecule and the different amino acids found in and
around the active site. This review illustrates the reaction and product diversity found within the -amylase family,
the mechanistic principles deduced from structure–function relationship structures, and the use of the enzymes of this
family in industrial applications. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Authors: Marc J.E.C., Van der Maarel, Bart van der Veen, Joost C.M. Uitdehaag, Hans Leemhuis, L. Dijkhuizen

Subjects: Amylase enzyme family

Pages: 20

Publisher: Journal of Biotechnology

Publication Date: September 27, 2001


Rights: Open access

Keywords: -Amylase; Starch; Starch-converting enzymes; Anti-staling of bread; Starch industry; Glycosylhydrolases


M.J.138 E.C. an der Maarel et al. / Journal of Biotechnology 94 (2002) 137–15527 September 2001