Ancestral proteins: Evolution meets Biotechnology

2022/03/25 Atrio 800


Ancestral proteins: Evolution meets Biotechnology

Raul Perez-Jimenez

Ancestral proteins: Evolution meets Biotechnology Proteins and enzymes are the workhorses of living organisms. Their multiple functions can also be exploited by the biotech industry. However, to that end, proteins often need to be modified and improved. Current methods for protein design rely on a limited number of mutations that often have limited effect. In our lab, we have developed a method that analyzes how evolution has "designed" proteins and enzymes. Every one of the mutations we can think of has already been tested in nature, we just need to rescue all these modifications. Reconstruction of sequences from extinct species offers that opportunity, not only providing valuable evolutionary information, but also sequences displaying features once essential for life. These new sequences often show hundreds of mutations that hide invisible properties and functions that are not present in their modern counterpart. They also serve as a "blank canvas" for protein engineers by combining them with rational design methods. I will present our results on the evolutionary design of enzymes and proteins in a journey from muscle physiology to nucleic acids transformations.

More information in PDF