Enzyme Engineering

Risk and replacement

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Science  14 May 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6543, pp. 699-700
DOI: 10.1126/science.372.6543.699-e

Much like the gears and chain of a well-used bicycle, a cell's metabolic enzymes age and collect damage and occasionally suffer catastrophic failure related to use. The rate of replacement required to maintain cellular function is determined by a combination of factors and differs for each enzyme. Hanson et al. analyzed protein turnover in bacteria, yeast, and plants and found associations among replacement rate, abundance, and metabolic flux. Up to 50% of metabolic enzymes may undergo self-inflicted, irreversible damage. Studying how to minimize these reactions without reducing activity could yield better catalysts for synthetic biology.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 118, e2023348118 (2021).

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