Noncellulosomal cohesin- and dockerin-like modules in the three domains of life

Ayelet Peer, Steven P. Smith, Edward A. Bayer, Raphael Lamed, Ilya Borovok

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The high-affinity cohesin-dockerin interaction was originally discovered as modular components, which mediate the assembly of the various subunits of the multienzyme cellulosome complex that characterizes some cellulolytic bacteria. Until recently, the presence of cohesins and dockerins within a bacterial proteome was considered a definitive signature of a cellulosome-producing bacterium. Widespread genome sequencing has since revealed a wealth of putative cohesin- and dockerin-containing proteins in Bacteria, Archaea, and in primitive eukaryotes. The newly identified modules appear to serve diverse functions that are clearly distinct from the classical cellulosome archetype, and the vast majority of parent proteins are not predicted glycoside hydrolases. In most cases, only a few such genes have been identified in a given microorganism, which encode proteins containing but a single cohesin and/or dockerin. In some cases, one or the other module appears to be missing from a given species, and in other cases both modules occur within the same protein. This review provides a bioinformatics-based survey of the current status of cohesin- and dockerin-like sequences in species from the Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya. Surprisingly, many identified modules and their parent proteins are clearly unrelated to cellulosomes. The cellulosome paradigm may thus be the exception rather than the rule for bacterial, archaeal, and eukaryotic employment of cohesin and dockerin modules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioinformatics
  • Cellulosome
  • Enzyme complex
  • Protein-protein interaction


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