Lund University

Denna sida på svenska This page in English

Protein structure and function

Creating functionality and stability

Stable and selective catalysts are prerequisites for efficient biocatalytic processes, and development of novel enzymes paired with a good understanding of the target proteins is thus an area of exquisite importance for creation of future biocatalysts.

We have specialized in research on enzymes from extremophiles, i.e. microorganisms adapted to extreme ecological conditions (heat or cold, high or low pH, or high salt conditions). Our research is based on use of recombinant enzymes, thus allowing genetic development of the biocatalysts selected based on properties like stability, reaction specificity or production yield. Our aim is development of biocatalysts for environmental friendly processing, e.g. for the production of green chemicals, with the focus on carbohydrate modifying enzymes.

Carbohydrate modifying enzymes
Carbohydrates are essential components in life, and biomass contains an array of structural and storage polysaccharides (like starch, cellulose and hemicellulose) which are important in industrial applications. Glycoside hydrolases (GHs) are enzymes which hydrolyse glycosidic bonds between two or more carbohydrates or between a carbohydrate and a non-carbohydrate moiety.  These enzymes are subject of growing interest due to their wide range of possible applications contributing to environmental-friendly processes. We employ both rational and random engineering strategies in studies aiming at transforming a number of GHs into more perfect biocatalysts, and via collaborations utilize structural biology resources to understand the molecular reasons for the changed properties.

Enzyme production
The possibility to produce the recombinant protein is a necessity for use and characterization of created variants. To achieve practical production levels, usage of genetically modified microorganisms is essential. As a natural complement to enzyme development, batch and fed-batch strategies for their heterologous production are utilized and developed.