Posts Tagged ‘Directed Evolution’

Directed Evolution of Selective Enzymes: Catalysts for Organic Chemistry and Biotechnology

  Authored by one of the world’s leading organic chemists, this authoritative reference provides an overview of basic strategies in directed evolution and introduces common gene mutagenesis, screening and selection methods.Throughout the t…

Directed evolution of artificial metalloenzymes for in vivo metathesis

The field of biocatalysis has advanced from harnessing natural enzymes to using directed evolution to obtain new biocatalysts with tailor-made functions. Several tools have recently been developed to expand the natural enzymatic repertoire with abiotic reactions. For example, artificial metalloenzymes, which combine the versatile reaction scope of transition metals with the beneficial catalytic features of enzymes, offer an attractive means to engineer new reactions. Three complementary strategies exist: repurposing natural metalloenzymes for abiotic transformations; in silico metalloenzyme (re-)design; and incorporation of abiotic cofactors into proteins. The third strategy offers the opportunity to design a wide variety of artificial metalloenzymes for non-natural reactions. However, many metal cofactors are inhibited by cellular components and therefore require purification of the scaffold protein. This limits the throughput of genetic optimization schemes applied to artificial metalloenzymes and their applicability in vivo to expand natural metabolism. Here we report the compartmentalization and in vivo evolution of an artificial metalloenzyme for olefin metathesis, which represents an archetypal organometallic reaction without equivalent in nature. Building on previous work on an artificial metallohydrolase, we exploit the periplasm of Escherichia coli as a reaction compartment for the ‘metathase’ because it offers an auspicious environment for artificial metalloenzymes, mainly owing to low concentrations of inhibitors such as glutathione, which has recently been identified as a major inhibitor. This strategy facilitated the assembly of a functional metathase in vivo and its directed evolution with substantially increased throughput compared to conventional approaches that rely on purified protein variants. The evolved metathase compares favourably with commercial catalysts, shows activity for different metathesis substrates and can be further evolved in different directions by adjusting the workflow. Our results represent the systematic implementation and evolution of an artificial metalloenzyme that catalyses an abiotic reaction in vivo, with potential applications in, for example, non-natural metabolism.

Abiological catalysis by artificial haem proteins containing noble metals in place of iron

Enzymes that contain metal ions—that is, metalloenzymes—possess the reactivity of a transition metal centre and the potential of molecular evolution to modulate the reactivity and substrate-selectivity of the system. By exploiting substrate promiscuity and protein engineering, the scope of reactions catalysed by native metalloenzymes has been expanded recently to include abiological transformations. However, this strategy is limited by the inherent reactivity of metal centres in native metalloenzymes. To overcome this limitation, artificial metalloproteins have been created by incorporating complete, noble-metal complexes within proteins lacking native metal sites. The interactions of the substrate with the protein in these systems are, however, distinct from those with the native protein because the metal complex occupies the substrate binding site. At the intersection of these approaches lies a third strategy, in which the native metal of a metalloenzyme is replaced with an abiological metal with reactivity different from that of the metal in a native protein. This strategy could create artificial enzymes for abiological catalysis within the natural substrate binding site of an enzyme that can be subjected to directed evolution. Here we report the formal replacement of iron in Fe-porphyrin IX (Fe-PIX) proteins with abiological, noble metals to create enzymes that catalyse reactions not catalysed by native Fe-enzymes or other metalloenzymes. In particular, we prepared modified myoglobins containing an Ir(Me) site that catalyse the functionalization of C–H bonds to form C–C bonds by carbene insertion and add carbenes to both β-substituted vinylarenes and unactivated aliphatic α-olefins. We conducted directed evolution of the Ir(Me)-myoglobin and generated mutants that form either enantiomer of the products of C–H insertion and catalyse the enantio- and diastereoselective cyclopropanation of unactivated olefins. The presented method of preparing artificial haem proteins containing abiological metal porphyrins sets the stage for the generation of artificial enzymes from innumerable combinations of PIX-protein scaffolds and unnatural metal cofactors to catalyse a wide range of abiological transformations.

First Artificial Enzyme Created by Evolution in a Test Tube

Seelig created the fledgling enzyme by using directed evolution in the laboratory. Working with colleague Gianluigi Veglia, graduate student Fa-An Chao, and other team members, he subsequently …

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