Chemical mutation of enzyme active sites

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Science  02 Nov 1984:
Vol. 226, Issue 4674, pp. 505-511
DOI: 10.1126/science.6238407


New active sites can be introduced into naturally occurring enzymes by the chemical modification of specific amino acid residues with the use of appropriately designed coenzyme analogs. The resultant semisynthetic enzymes can have catalytic activities very different from those of the corresponding native enzymes. For example, papain has been converted into a highly effective oxidoreductase by covalent modification of the sulfhydryl group of the active site cysteine residue (Cys25) with flavins such as 8-bromoacetyl-10-methylisoalloxazine. Thus, it is now possible to enhance the catalytic versatility of existing enzymes through the process of "chemical mutation" of the active site.