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Trends in Biotechnology

Enzyme Catalyst Engineering toward the Integration of Biocatalysis and Chemocatalysis

Yufei Cao1, Xiaoyang Li2, Jun Ge1,3

Key Lab for Industrial Biocatalysis, Ministry of Education, Department of Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.


Enzymatic catalysis, which has been driving biological processes in a green, mild, and efficient manner for billions of years, is increasingly being used in industrial processes to manufacture chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and materials for human society. Since enzymes were discovered, strategies to adapt enzymes for use as catalysts for industrial processes, such as chemical modification, immobilization, site-directed mutagenesis, directed evolution of enzymes, artificial metalloenzymes, and computational design, have been continuously pursued. In contrast to these strategies, editing enzymes to easily integrate biocatalysis with chemocatalysis is a potential way to apply enzymes in industry. Enzyme catalyst editing focuses on fine-tuning the microenvironment surrounding the enzyme or achieving a new catalytic function to construct better biocatalysis under non-natural conditions for the enzyme.

Keywords: biocatalysis, chemocatalysis, engineering, microenvironment.

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