Directed evolution of cytochrome c for carbon-silicon bond formation: Bringing silicon to life

Condensed Matter journal club

Directed evolution of cytochrome c for carbon-silicon bond formation: Bringing silicon to life

  • Event time: 11:30am
  • Event date: 9th December 2016
  • Speaker: (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: Room 2511,

Event details

Abstract

Enzymes that catalyze carbon-silicon bond formation are unknown in nature, despite the natural abundance of both elements. Such enzymes would expand the catalytic repertoire of biology, enabling living systems to access chemical space previously only open to synthetic chemistry.We have discovered that heme proteins catalyze the formation of organosilicon compounds under physiological conditions via carbene insertion into silicon-hydrogen bonds. The reaction proceeds both in vitro and in vivo, accommodating a broad range of substrates with high chemo- and enantioselectivity. Using directed evolution, we enhanced the catalytic function of cytochrome c from Rhodothermus marinus to achieve more than 15-fold higher turnover than state-of-the-art synthetic catalysts. This carbon-silicon bond-forming biocatalyst offers an environmentally friendly and highly efficient route to producing enantiopure organosilicon molecules.
Science 354 pages 1048-1051 (2016)
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Authors

S. B. Jennifer Kan, Russell D. Lewis, Kai Chen, Frances H. Arnold

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Given the diversity of research in the CM group, chosen topics vary widely. We tend to stick to high-impact journals - Nature, Science, PNAS and PRL have been popular - but this is not prescriptive..

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