Directed Evolution and Biocatalysis

Directed Evolution and Biocatalysis
Date & Time: 
Wednesday, March 6, 2019 - 14:00 to 15:00
Zhoutong Sun, Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Room 264, Geography Building, Zhongbei Campus, East China Normal University


Enzyme engineering is widely used in enzyme design to perform challenging reactions in biocatalysis and microbial synthetic biology. Toward study the new reaction design rules and catalytic mechanism, based on the enzyme catalytic pocket, are promising to solve the enzyme as catalyst in the synthesis of pharmaceutical interesting compound and natural products. Our group focus on directed evolution and enzyme design methodology development, catalytic mechanism study and industrial interesting enzyme design. Based on bioinformatics and in silico design in combination with directed evolution to discover, design and evolve the natural enzymes, fine-tuning the eantio-, regioselectivity as well as the activity via binding pocket reshaping. In this talk, I will present the recent advances of directed evolution and biocatalysis, and our contributions in this filed. We developed several advanced designed techniques based on amino acid codons usage toward the studies of chiral catalytic mechanism, and solved the screening bottleneck of directed evolution for enzyme asymmetric catalysis. The catalytic mechanism of chiral control and substrate specificity related to reshaped binding pocket of limonene epoxide hydrolase (LEH) were unveiled, and also the carboxylic acid reductase (CAR). Industrial interesting enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase was designed and applied in the synthesis of important pharmaceutical compounds. The future work will focus on the new reaction design and catalytic mechanism studies using LEH and CAR etc. as model enzymes in the synthesis of chiral alcohols through microbial synthetic chassis.


Zhoutong Sun obtained his Ph.D. in microbiology at Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2012, then he moved to Nanyang Technological University in Singapore as a Research Fellow. One year later, he moved to Max-Planck-Institute for Coal Research (Kohlenforschung) and Philipps-University Marburg in Germany as a Postdoc with Prof. Manfred T. Reetz. In 2016, he became a Full Professor at Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences via the “CAS Pioneer Hundred Talents Program”. His research interests are in the discovery, design and engineering of biocatalysts, as well as cascade reactions design and metabolic engineering.

Bi-Weekly Seminar Series by the NYU-ECNU Center for Computational Chemistry at NYU Shanghai