Repurposing of protein nanopores as artificial transmembrane enzymes

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Chemistry


Repurposing of protein nanopores as artificial transmembrane enzymes
Project Summary:
This project seeks to use bioconjugation chemistry to incorporate non-native, synthetic catalytic functionalities into membrane-spanning biological pore proteins. While the native protein lacks any catalytic activity, the targeted re-engineered transmembrane proteins will be capable of catalysing reactions as molecules are transported across a membrane.
The project will exploit in situ transmembrane protein modification chemistry recently developed within the Cockroft group in combination with expertise of the Jarvis group in the design of artificial enzymes. Single-channel electrophysiology will enable reaction mechanisms to be monitored on the single-molecule level. Once a working system has been developed and characterised at the single-molecule level, the ultimate aim will be to endow lipid membranes with large numbers of proteins to enable preparative-scale transmembrane chemical transformations that could be translated into flow reactors that
could be exploited in industrial biotechnology.
The project will involve training in computational protein design, synthetic chemistry, bioconjugation chemistry, bio/chemical catalysis and transmembrane recordings using the patch clamp technique.


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