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Substrate adaptability of β-lactamase

The research aims to explore the evolutionary adaptability of enzymes and the impact of temperature on protein evolution pathways, using M. tuberculosis β-lactamase BlaC as the object of study. Enzymes inherently embody a delicate balance between activity and stability, and the acquisition of new enzymatic functions is often accompanied by trade-offs, such as decreased stability or reduction of the original activity.

J. Sun
20 februari 2024
Thesis in Leiden Repository

Probing evolutionary adaptability of BlaC with laboratory evolution in combination with structural characterization can provide information about the mechanisms of rapid adaptations observed for β-lactamases in the clinic. The role of temperature as a conventional selection pressure in such evolutionary adaptation is unclear. The cooperative nature of enzyme unfolding over a narrow temperature trajectory raises the question whether evolution at temperatures well below the melting point is influenced by temperature. The approach used in this work to answer these questions is by simulating evolution under different selection pressures and characterize the variant enzymes in terms of activity, structure, dynamics and melting temperature. The research makes clear how enzyme kinetics and dynamics vary with different selection pressures and maps the evolutionary path that enzymes may take. The underlying structural mechanisms are established to provide a rationale for the observed effects.

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