Combining chemistry and protein engineering for new-to-nature biocatalysis


Biocatalysis, the application of enzymes to solve synthetic problems of human import, has blossomed into a powerful technology for chemical innovation. In the past decade, a threefold partnership, where nature provides blueprints for enzymatic catalysis, chemists introduce innovative activity modes with abiological substrates, and protein engineers develop new tools and algorithms to tune and improve enzymatic function, has unveiled the frontier of new-to-nature enzyme catalysis. In this perspective, we highlight examples of interdisciplinary studies, which have helped to expand the scope of biocatalysis, including concepts of enzymatic versatility explored through the lens of biomimicry, to achieve activities and selectivities beyond those currently possible with chemocatalysis. We indicate how modern tools, such as directed evolution, computational protein design and machine learning-based protein engineering methods, have already impacted and will continue to influence enzyme engineering for new abiological transformations. A sustained collaborative effort across disciplines is anticipated to spur further advances in biocatalysis in the coming years

ICB Affiliated Authors

David C. Miller, Soumitra V. Athavale and Frances H. Arnold
Peer-Reviewed Article
Nature Synthesis