Engineered Tryptophan Synthase Balances Equilibrium Effects and Fast Dynamic Effects

Joseph W. Schafer, Xi Chen, Steven D. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Creating efficient and stable enzymes for catalysis in pharmaceutical and industrial laboratories is an important research goal. Arnold et al. used directed evolution to engineer a natural tryptophan synthase to create a mutant that is operable under laboratory conditions without the need for a natural allosteric effector. The use of directed evolution allows researchers to improve enzymes without understanding the structure–activity relationship. Here, we present a transition path sampling study of a key chemical transformation in the tryptophan synthase catalytic cycle. We observed that while directed evolution does mimic the natural allosteric effect from a stability perspective, fast protein dynamics associated with chemistry has been dramatically altered. This work provides further evidence of the role of protein dynamics in catalysis and clearly demonstrates the multifaceted complexity of mutations associated with protein engineering. This study also demonstrates a fascinating contrast between allosteric and stand-alone functions at the femtosecond time scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)913-922
Number of pages10
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 21 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Markov chain Monte Carlo
  • allosteric effect
  • computational chemistry
  • directed evolution
  • promoting vibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


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