Redesigning secondary structure to invert coenzyme specificity in isopropylmalate dehydrogenase

Ridong Chen, Ann Greer, Antony M. Dean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Rational engineering of enzymes involves introducing key amino acids guided by a knowledge of protein structure to effect a desirable change in function. To date, all successful attempts to change specificity have been limited to substituting individual amino acids within a protein fold. However, the infant field of protein engineering will only reach maturity when changes in function can be generated by rationally engineering secondary structures. Guided by x-ray crystal structures and molecular modeling, site- directed mutagenesis has been used to systematically invert the coenzyme specificity of Thermus thermophilus isopropylmalate dehydrogenase from a 100- fold preference for NAD to a 1000-fold preference for NADP. The engineered mutant, which is twice as active as wild type, contains four amino acid substitutions and an α-helix and loop that replaces the original β-turn. These results demonstrate that rational engineering of secondary structures to produce enzymes with novel properties is feasible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12171-12176
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
StatePublished - Oct 29 1996


  • NAD
  • NADP
  • protein engineering
  • specificity


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