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From structure to function: charting the course of flavin-dependent carbohydrate oxidoreductases

PhD ceremony:A. Boverio
When:June 18, 2024
Supervisors:prof. dr. ir. M.W. (Marco) Fraaije, prof. dr. A. Mattevi
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Science and Engineering
From structure to function: charting the course of flavin-dependent
carbohydrate oxidoreductases

arbohydrates are ubiquitous biomolecules present abundantly in nature, playing crucial roles in a multitude of biological processes. Over time, various enzymes have evolved to selectively process carbohydrates, converting them into different compounds. The research of Alessandro Boverio focuses on a particular class of carbohydrate-converting enzymes named flavin-dependent carbohydrate oxidases.

Flavin-dependent carbohydrate oxidases have the unique ability to selectively oxidize sugars using just oxygen as electron acceptor. Thus, they can perform conversions without relying on additional cofactors or enzyme partners. This relatively simple reaction mechanism together with a high regioselectivity, make them appealing for biotechnological applications.

However, challenges persist, especially regarding the efficient production of these oxidases, hampering their development and characterization. To address these problems, the chapters of this thesis explore new enzymes from diverse biological sources including bacteria and plants, delving into their mechanism of action and their structural properties.

Additionally, an evolutionary-based approach has been employed to study a peculiar group of flavin-dependent carbohydrate oxidizing enzymes, named aldonolactone oxidoreductases, responsible for the last step in vitamin C biosynthesis in plants and animals.

Overall, this research enhances our understanding of carbohydrate oxidoreductases, offering potential starting points for enzyme engineering and industrial applications.