Modulating mobility: a paradigm for protein engineering?

Margaret McAuley, David Timson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Proteins are highly mobile structures. In addition to gross conformational changesoccurring on, for example, ligand binding, they are also subject to constant thermal motion. The mobility of the protein varies through its structure and can be modulated by ligand binding and other events. It is becoming increasingly clear that this mobility plays an important role in key functions of proteins including catalysis, allostery, cooperativity and regulation. Thus, in addition to an optimum structure, proteins most likely also require an optimal dynamic state. Alteration of this dynamic state through protein engineering will affect protein function. A dramatic example of this is seen in some inherited metabolic diseases where alternation of residues distant from the active site affects the mobility of the protein and impairs function. We postulate that using molecular dynamics simulations, experimental data or a combination of the two it should be possible to engineer the mobility of active sites. This may be useful in, for example, increasing the promiscuity of enzymes. Thus, a paradigm for protein engineering is suggested in which the mobility of the active site is rationally modified. This might be combined h as altering functionalgroups in the active site.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

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  • Enzyme engineering
  • Molecular dynamics
  • Protein flexibility
  • Active site
  • Biocatalysis
  • Conformational change


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