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Molecules Webinar | Recent Advances in Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes

23 Jun 2021, 15:00

Molecules, Carbohydrate-active Enzymes, CAZymes
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Welcome from the Chair

12th Molecules Webinar

Recent Advances in Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes

The area of carbohydrate-active enzymes belongs to one of the most enormously developed research fields, which, in recent decades, has attracted continuously increasing attention from the scientific community. Since the early 1990s, the field has been tightly connected with the sequence-based classification of glycoside hydrolases (GHs) into GH families, established by Bernard Henrissat in 1991, and later involving other enzyme activities that, in addition to catalyzing the hydrolysis of glycoside linkages, can also catalyze the formation and/or modification of a variety of carbohydrates. Therefore, carbohydrate-active enzymes are currently best recognized as being classified in the CAZy database (, covering, in addition to GH families, the families of glycosyltransferases (GTs), polysaccharide lyases (PLs), carbohydrate esterases (CEs), and auxiliary activities (AAs). Also covered is a segment devoted to the non-catalytic domains of the so-called carbohydrate-binding module (CBM) families. The scope of “CAZymes” is therefore rather wide, spanning from basic research to many practical applications, such as modern biotechnologies and state-of-the-art approaches in medicine.

Date: 23 June 2021

Time: 3:00pm CEST | 9:00am EDT | 9:00pm CST Asia

Webinar ID: 875 4226 7139

Webinar Secretariat:

Webinar Content

On Wednesday 23 June 2021, MDPI and the Journal Molecules organized the 12th webinar entitled "Recent Advances in Carbohidrate-Active Enzymes".

The introduction was held by the Chair of the webinar, Dr. Stefan Janecek, from the Institute of Molecular Biology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia. He made an overview of the webinar's topic by presenting the first talk on "Alpha-Amylase Families in CAZy: Sequences, Structures, Specificities and Evolution - a Bioinformatician’s View". He was also in charge of presenting the panel of speakers of the webinar, and managing the Q&A time at the end of the session.

Dr. Nicolas Terrapon from Aix Marseille Université, France, followed the chair's introduction and presented his work on "Carbohydrate-Active EnZymes Annotation in the High-Throughput Era".

The final presentation was given by Dr. Elizabeth Ficko-Blean, from CNRS and Sorbonne Université in France. She presented a resourceful platform for the Carbohydrate-Enzymes in her presentation entitled "CAZypedia - a Cherished CAZy Community Resource".

The presentations were followed by a Q&A and a discussion, moderated by the Chair. The webinar was offered via Zoom and required registration to attend. The full recording can be found here on Sciforum website.

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Laboratory of Protein Evolution, Institute of Molecular Biology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia - Website

Stefan Janecek is a research scientist at the Institute of Molecular Biology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia, and a teacher at the Department of Biology of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of SS. Cyril and Methodius, Trnava, Slovakia. He is a group leader at the Laboratory of Protein Evolution. Stefan is most interested in enzymes and proteins from the main alpha-amylase family and other related families, especially their evolution, as well as their structure–function and structure–stability relationships. In addition, he is also very interested in bioinformatics studies of starch-binding domains classified as CAZy CBM families. Stefan Janecek works as a protein bioinfomatician, being particularly engaged in silico studies. In a close collaboration with experimentalists, his work is also focused on the protein design of enzymes based on bioinformatics analyses. Stefan is the founder and main organiser of the symposia on the alpha-amylase enzyme family—ALAMYs ( He also serves as Editor-in-Chief for the journal “Amylase”, Associate Editor of the journal “3Biotech” and Managing Editor of the journal “Biologia”, section Cellular and Molecular Biology.

Invited Speakers

Aix Marseille Université, Marseille, France - Website

Nicolas Terrapon obtained a PhD in computer science in 2010 as part of the Methods and Algorithms for Bioinformatics group headed by Olivier Gascuel at the Laboratory of Informatics, Robotics and Micro-electronics in Montpellier (LIRMM, France). He developed strategies to improve the detection of protein domains in Plasmodium falciparum, such as co-occurrence properties or taxon-specific profile HMMs. He then joined Erich Bornberg-Bauer's Evolutionary Bioinformatics group in the Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity (IEB, Münster, Germany) to study the modular evolution of proteins and how domain rearrangements create novel multimodular architectures. He also participated in the first termite genome project, Zootermopsis nevadensis. In 2013, he joined the Glycogenomics team at the Architecture and Function of Macromolecules in Biology (AFMB, Marseille) and obtained the position of Associate Professor in 2016. His research focuses on bacterial operons dedicated to the deconstruction of polysaccharides, particularly the creation of the PULDB database. He now heads the Glycogenomics group, created by emeritus Bernard Henrissat almost 30 years ago. The CAZy project aims to classify enzymes that assemble or breakdown polysaccharides into families, based on their amino acid sequences, to facilitate future protein annotation. CAZy became a reference for the community, thanks to the high functional specificity of these enzymes, but also to the daily investment in biocuration and literature surveillance of a small expert team. However, human expertise is time-consuming and represents a real challenge in the era of high-throughput biology. The future of the CAZy database therefore depends on strategic choices, such as our recent involvements in metagenomic analyses, in the discovery of new families in bacterial operons, in the creation of sub-families for more precise functional predictions, or in the involvement of the community in scientific observation.

CNRS and Sorbonne Université, Station Biologique de Roscoff, Roscoff, France - Website

Dr. Elizabeth Ficko-Blean is a senior curator for CAZypedia, a set of crowd-contributed Wiki-like pages describing the different families of carbohydrate-active enzymes and their associated modules. Elizabeth is specifically responsible for CAZypedia CBM, which is focused on providing updated CAZypedia pages on the characterized families of carbohydrate-binding modules. Elizabeth’s background is as a structural glycobiochemist and she spent the early years of her career studying the interactions between bacterial pathogens and host animal glycans, resulting in several comprehensive structural and functional analyses of multi-modular bacterial virulence factors. After a collaborative visit to the ‘Station Biologique de Roscoff’, she became intrigued by the similarities in carbohydrate degradation between bacteria from animal hosts and marine bacteria given that they survive in such disparate niche environments. Elizabeth is now a permanent CNRS scientific researcher at the ‘Station Biologique de Roscoff’ and investigates marine protein–carbohydrate interactions with complex sulfated macroalgal cell wall polysaccharides. These marine enzymes demonstrate exquisite specificities for their target complex carbohydrates and have revealed unique and industrially useful activities, as well as contributing to our understanding of the carbon cycling of coastal algal biomass.


This is a FREE webinar. The number of participants to the live session is limited but the recording will be made available on Sciforum shortly afterwards. Registrations with academic institutional email addresses will be prioritized.



Time in CEST

Dr. Stefan Janecek

Chair Introduction

3:00 - 3:05 pm

Dr. Stefan Janecek

Alpha-Amylase Families in CAZy: Sequences, Structures, Specificities and Evolution - a Bioinformatician’s View

3:05 - 3:30 pm

Dr. Nicolas Terrapon

Carbohydrate-Active EnZymes Annotation in the High-Throughput Era

3:30 - 3:55 pm

Dr. Elizabeth Ficko-Blean

CAZypedia - a Cherished CAZy Community Resource

3:55 - 4:20 pm

Q&A and Discussion

4:20 - 4:40 pm

Closing of Webinar
Dr. Stefan Janecek

4:40 - 4:45 pm

Relevant SI

Recent Advances in Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes
Guest Editor: Dr. Stefan Janecek
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 July 2021

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