Gerrit Poelarends was looking for an enzyme that would make a key step in the production of important pharmaceuticals greener and much more efficient. It led him to a tiny protein called 4-oxalocrotonate tautomerase. Over a period of five years, he managed to map the possibilities it offers and re-engineer it to perform the required step. The results were published in Nature Communications on 8 March.
Science linx has a commentary on the research
Reference: Jan-Ytzen van der Meer, Harshwardhan Poddar, Bert-Jan Baas, Yufeng Miao, Mehran Rahimi, Andreas Kunzendorf, Ronald van Merkerk, Pieter G. Tepper, Edzard M. Geertsema, Andy-Mark W.H. Thunnissen, Wim J. Quax and Gerrit J. Poelarends Using mutability landscapes of a promiscuous tautomerase to guide the engineering of enantioselective Michaelases, Nature Communications, 8 March, DOI 10.1038/NCOMMS10911.
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