Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 75, Issue 6, pp 1225–1232 | Cite as

Protein engineering: opportunities and challenges

  • Matti Leisola
  • Ossi Turunen


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 



The authors thank Douglas Axe for his helpful criticism and for revising the text.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Bioprocess EngineeringHelsinki University of TechnologyEspooFinland

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