Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 75, Issue 6, pp 1225-1232

First online:

Protein engineering: opportunities and challenges

  • Matti LeisolaAffiliated withLaboratory of Bioprocess Engineering, Helsinki University of Technology Email author 
  • , Ossi TurunenAffiliated withLaboratory of Bioprocess Engineering, Helsinki University of Technology

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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.


Protein engineering Directed evolution Enzymes