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Advances in optimizing enzyme electrostatic preorganization.


Utilizing electric fields to catalyze chemical reactions is not a new idea, but in enzymology it undergoes a renaissance, inspired by Warhsel's concept of electrostatic preorganization. According to this concept, the source of the immense catalytic efficiency of enzymes is the intramolecular electric field that permanently favors the reaction transition state over the reactants. Within enzyme design, computational efforts have fallen short in designing enzymes with natural-like efficacy. The outcome could improve if long-range electrostatics (often omitted in current protocols) would be optimized. Here, we highlight the major developments in methods for analyzing and designing electric fields generated by the protein scaffolds, in order to both better understand how natural enzymes function, and aid artificial enzyme design.

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