2 publications

2 publications

The Importance of Catalytic Promiscuity for Enzyme Design and Evolution

Review

Mayer, C.; Roelfes, G.

Nat. Rev. Chem. 2019, 3, 687-705, 10.1038/s41570-019-0143-x

The ability of one enzyme to catalyse multiple, mechanistically distinct transformations likely played a crucial role in organisms’ abilities to adapt to changing external stimuli in the past and can still be observed in extant enzymes. Given the importance of catalytic promiscuity in nature, enzyme designers have recently begun to create catalytically promiscuous enzymes in order to expand the canon of transformations catalysed by proteins. This article aims to both critically review different strategies for the design of enzymes that display catalytic promiscuity for new-to-nature reactions and highlight the successes of subsequent directed-evolution efforts to fine-tune these novel reactivities. For the former, we put a particular emphasis on the creation, stabilization and repurposing of reaction intermediates, which are key for unlocking new activities in an existing or designed active site. For the directed evolution of the resulting catalysts, we contrast approaches for enzyme design that make use of components found in nature and those that achieve new reactivities by incorporating synthetic components. Following the critical analysis of selected examples that are now available, we close this Review by providing a set of considerations and design principles for enzyme engineers, which will guide the future generation of efficient artificial enzymes for synthetically useful, abiotic transformations.


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The Plasticity of Redox Cofactors: From Metalloenzymes to Redox-Active DNA

Review

Happe, T.; Hemschemeier, A.

Nat. Rev. Chem. 2018, 2, 231-243, 10.1038/s41570-018-0029-3

Metal cofactors considerably widen the catalytic space of naturally occurring enzymes whose specific and enantioselective catalytic activity constitutes a blueprint for economically relevant chemical syntheses. To optimize natural enzymes and uncover novel reactivity, we need a detailed understanding of cofactor–protein interactions, which can be challenging to obtain in the case of enzymes with sophisticated cofactors. As a case study, we summarize recent research on the [FeFe]-hydrogenases, which interconvert protons, electrons and dihydrogen at a unique iron-based active site. We can now chemically synthesize the complex cofactor and incorporate it into an apo-protein to afford functional enzymes. By varying both the cofactor and the polypeptide components, we have obtained detailed knowledge on what is required for a metal cluster to process H2. In parallel, the design of artificial proteins and catalytically active nucleic acids are advancing rapidly. In this Perspective, we introduce these fields and outline how chemists and biologists can use this knowledge to develop novel tailored semisynthetic catalysts.


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