Construction and In Vivo Assembly of a Catalytically Proficient and Hyperthermostable De Novo Enzyme
Although catalytic mechanisms in natural enzymes are well understood, achieving the diverse palette of reaction chemistries in re-engineered native proteins has proved challenging. Wholesale modification of natural enzymes is potentially compromised by their intrinsic complexity, which often obscures the underlying principles governing biocatalytic efficiency. The maquette approach can circumvent this complexity by combining a robust de novo designed chassis with a design process that avoids atomistic mimicry of natural proteins. Here, we apply this method to the construction of a highly efficient, promiscuous, and thermostable artificial enzyme that catalyzes a diverse array of substrate oxidations coupled to the reduction of H2O2. The maquette exhibits kinetics that match and even surpass those of certain natural peroxidases, retains its activity at elevated temperature and in the presence of organic solvents, and provides a simple platform for interrogating catalytic intermediates common to natural heme-containing enzymes.
The Ascent of Man(Made Oxidoreductases)Review
Though established 40 years ago, the field of de novo protein design has recently come of age, with new designs exhibiting an unprecedented level of sophistication in structure and function. With respect to catalysis, de novo enzymes promise to revolutionise the industrial production of useful chemicals and materials, while providing new biomolecules as plug-and-play components in the metabolic pathways of living cells. To this end, there are now de novo metalloenzymes that are assembled in vivo, including the recently reported C45 maquette, which can catalyse a variety of substrate oxidations with efficiencies rivalling those of closely related natural enzymes. Here we explore the successful design of this de novo enzyme, which was designed to minimise the undesirable complexity of natural proteins using a minimalistic bottom-up approach.