Strategies for Designing Biocatalysts with New Functions

Elizabeth Bell, Amy Hutton, Ashleigh Burke, Adam O'Connell, Amber Barry, Elaine O'Reilly, Anthony Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus Citations


The engineering of natural enzymes has led to the availability of a broad range of biocatalysts that can be used for the sustainable manufacturing of a variety of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. However, for many important chemical transformations there are no known enzymes that can serve as starting templates for biocatalyst development. These limitations have fuelled efforts to build entirely new catalytic sites into proteins in order to generate enzymes with functions beyond those found in Nature. This bottom-up approach to enzyme development can also reveal new fundamental insights into the molecular origins of efficient protein catalysis. In this tutorial review, we will survey the different strategies that have been explored for designing new protein catalysts. These methods will be illustrated through key selected examples, which demonstrate how highly proficient and selective biocatalysts can be developed through experimental protein engineering and/or computational design. Given the rapid pace of development in the field, we are optimistic that designer enzymes will begin to play an increasingly prominent role as industrial biocatalysts in the coming years.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2851-2862
Number of pages12
JournalChemical Society Reviews
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2800-87187


  • biocatalyst
  • directed evolution
  • enzyme engineering


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