Protein engineering: opportunities and challenges
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- Leisola, M. & Turunen, O. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol (2007) 75: 1225. doi:10.1007/s00253-007-0964-2
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The extraordinary properties of natural proteins demonstrate that life-like protein engineering is both achievable and valuable. Rapid progress and impressive results have been made towards this goal using rational design and random techniques or a combination of both. However, we still do not have a general theory on how to specify a structure that is suited to a target function nor can we specify a sequence that folds to a target structure. There is also overreliance on the Darwinian blind search to obtain practical results. In the long run, random methods cannot replace insight in constructing life-like proteins. For the near future, however, in enzyme development, we need to rely on a combination of both.