Cellulose is a dominant structural polysaccharide in plants composed ofβ -D-glucose units with β-1,4-linkages.
Cellulose decomposition requires multiple enzymes. In general, cellulose is degraded to cellodextrin or cellobiose by the synergistic action of two cellulases: endoglucanase (EC 18.104.22.168) and cellobiohydrolase (EC 22.214.171.124) (Tomme et al., 1995; Bayer et al., 1998). Degradation of cellodextrin or cellobiose into monomeric glucose units requires another enzyme, β-glucosidase (EC 126.96.36.199), that hydrolyzes non-reducing 1,4-linked-β-glucose (Henrissat et al., 1989).
Cellulose fibers are cross-linked by other polysaccharides called `hemicelluloses’ to increase the physical strength of the cell wall. Hemicelluloses include xylan (β-D-xylose units with β-1,4-linkages), glucomannan (β-D-mannose units andβ -D-glucose units with β-1,4-linkages), xyloglucan (β-D-glucose units with β-1,4-linkages, andβ -D-xylose and β-D-glucose units withβ -1,6-linkages), 1,3-1,4-β-glucan (β-D-glucose units with β-1,3- and β-1,4-linkages), and a relatively small amount of other polysaccharides composed of β-D-glucose,β -D-xylose, β-D-mannose and other sugar units with various linkages (McNeill et al., 1984).
The scaffold of cellulose and hemicelluloses is filled with pectin (α-D-galacturonic acid units with mainly α-1,4-linkages), which functions as a cement-like substance in the cell wall.
Sakamoto, Kentaro, and Haruhiko Toyohara. “A comparative study of cellulase and hemicellulase activities of brackish water clam Corbicula japonica with those of other marine Veneroida bivalves.” Journal of Experimental Biology 212.17 (2009): 2812-2818.