Per-Olof Syren, KTH Royal Institute of Technology/SciLifeLab, and his colleagues have discovered a new strategy for designing enzymes using water as enzyme building blocks. By rebuilding the enzyme so that water fits in the protein backbone, they created a stronger interaction between the enzyme and its substrate. Their work shows that the incorporation of water in the enzymatic structure can enhance the catalysis 34-fold compared to the natural enzyme.
“Traditionally, you insert either natural or synthetic amino acids in an enzyme when you want to improve its capacity.” Said Per-Olof Syrén. “We tried to think outside the box and figured that water might constitute additional possible building bricks, since enzymes once evolved in water and thus this molecule is a natural part of enzymes and their surroundings.”
The recent study, employing the method that was developed at SciLifeLab, was published in Chemical Communications and also was featured on the journal cover. The method could be valuable for the industry in the development of enzymes with enhanced versatilities or for modulating protein-drug interactions.