Congratulations: Dr Anthony Green: BBSRC David Fellowship Success

Dr Anthony Green has recently been awarded a BBSRC David Fellowship for the project "Designer Enzymes with Organocatalytic Functionality".

This project involves the design and evolution of artificial enzymes with novel activities, which promote key synthetic transformations not observed in nature's biosynthetic repertoire. Nature's enzymes are made up from various combinations of only twenty standard amino acid building blocks which are generally not suitable to promote non-natural reactions. To achieve the ambitious goal of creating artificial enzymes, we will supply microorganisms with the necessary tools to produce biocatalysts which contain new functional, catalytic amino acids with unique properties. These residues are carefully designed to have the necessary functionality to perform not one, but many important transformations. The primitive and promiscuous enzymes initially produced are expected to display low activity compared with natural enzymes, since they have not been subjected to millions of years of natural evolutionary processes to optimize their function. However, directed evolution offers an ideal method to rapidly optimize the activity of these biocatalysts to produce specialized enzymes with suitable properties for synthetic applications.

This research seeks to merge the fields of biocatalysis and organocatalysis in a manner that combines the benefits, and overcomes inherent limitations, associated with these disciplines. The successful demonstration of this approach will inspire the creation of artificial enzymes for a large diversity of synthetically valuable transformations. The ultimate goal is to generate efficient and robust biocatalysts suitable for use in sustainable manufacturing processes for the production of high-value chemicals.

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