Functional Analysis of Promiscuous Enzymes

Published on November 2, 2017

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Interview with Karen N. Allen, Boston University, USA

recorded at BEILSTEIN ENZYMOLOGY SYMPOSIUM – Enzymes in Transformation and Signalling
Rüdesheim, Germany, 19 – 21 September 2017

Karen Allen is talking with Martin Hicks about the functional analysis and impact of the ‘promiscuity’ of enzymes. Enzymologists use this term to describe the ambivalency of enzyme activity. Either these enzymes carry out different but related chemical reactions or they catalyse a different set of substrates. Karen describes the significance of promiscuous enzymes for the evolutionary development of enzymes when selectivity and efficiency is optimized and underlines that promiscuity is still of importance for the adaptation of organisms to changing environments. She also points out that promiscuity are a considerable challenge for drug discovery since either these enzymes circumvent drug effects or even metabolize drugs as alternative substrates. However, the more enzymologists study the dynamics of enzymes the more promiscuity is found among a wide variety of enzyme families.

Please have a look at our other videos with some speakers and their standpoints on enzyme research:

Directed Evolution of Enzymes
Donald Hilvert, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Efficiency of Enzyme Catalysis
Kenneth A. Johnson, University of Texas at Austin, USA

Nature is the Master of Design
Roland Wohlgemuth, ESAB, Buchs, Switzerland

Discussion: Data Deposition Increases Credibility
Barbara M. Bakker, Carsten Kettner, Thomas S. Leyh, Johann M. Rohwer, Reinhard Sterner

The Beilstein Enzymology Symposia embrace structural, computational and biological disciplines, and bring researchers (established and younger workers) together to discuss the many and diverse roles of enzymes in biology, and to explore the limits and challenges of holistic studies that attempt to integrate microscopic views of protein function into complex biological behaviour.

This symposium addresses enzymes and other signal‑cascade proteins which capture and transduce these diverse signals into discrete chemical entities that inform and direct cellular behaviour. Molecular-information processing networks require the coordinated interplay of numerous components, and are the focus of systems-biological investigations aimed at understanding, for example, the spread of disease, or identifying targets that can control signal-transduction.

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