Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Previously Published Works bannerUC Berkeley

Computational Design of Synthetic Enzymes.


We review the standard model for de novo computational design of enzymes, which primarily focuses on the development of an active-site geometry, composed of protein functional groups in orientations optimized to stabilize the transition state, for a novel chemical reaction not found in nature. Its emphasis is placed on the structure and energetics of the active site embedded in an accommodating protein that serves as a physical support that shields the reaction chemistry from solvent, which is typically improved upon by laboratory-directed evolution. We also provide a review of design strategies that move beyond the standard model, by placing more emphasis on the designed enzyme as a whole catalytic construct. Starting with complete de novo enzyme design examples, we consider additional design factors such as entropy of individual residues, correlated motion between side chains (mutual information), dynamical correlations of the enzyme motions that could aid the reaction, reorganization energy, and electric fields as ways to exploit the entire protein scaffold to improve upon the catalytic rate, thereby providing directed evolution with better starting sequences for increasing biocatalytic performance.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View