Ronan M Kelly

University College Dublin, Dublin, Leinster, Ireland

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Publications (7)26.27 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Cyclodextrin glucanotransferases (CGTases) are industrially important enzymes that produce cyclic alpha-(1,4)-linked oligosaccharides (cyclodextrins) from starch. Cyclodextrin glucanotransferases are also applied as catalysts in the synthesis of glycosylated molecules and can act as antistaling agents in the baking industry. To improve the performance of CGTases in these various applications, protein engineers are screening for CGTase variants with higher product yields, improved CD size specificity, etc. In this review, we focus on the strategies employed in obtaining CGTases with new or enhanced enzymatic capabilities by searching for new enzymes and improving existing enzymatic activities via protein engineering.
    Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 09/2009; 85(4):823-35. · 3.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cyclodextrin glucanotransferases (CGTases) have attracted major interest from industry due to their unique capacity of forming large quantities of cyclic alpha-(1,4)-linked oligosaccharides (cyclodextrins) from starch. CGTases produce a mixture of cyclodextrins from starch consisting of 6 (alpha), 7 (beta) and 8 (gamma) glucose units. In an effort to identify the structural factors contributing to the evolutionary diversification of product specificity amongst this group of enzymes, we selected nine CGTases from both mesophilic, thermophilic and hyperthermophilic organisms for comparative product analysis. These enzymes displayed considerable variation regarding thermostability, initial rates, percentage of substrate conversion and ratio of alpha-, beta- and gamma-cyclodextrins formed from starch. Sequence comparison of these CGTases revealed that specific incorporation and/or substitution of amino acids at the substrate binding sites, during the evolutionary progression of these enzymes, resulted in diversification of cyclodextrin product specificity.
    Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 05/2009; 84(1):119-33. · 3.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Starch is the major food reserve in plants and forms a large part of the daily calorie intake in the human diet. Industrially, starch has become a major raw material in the production of various products including bio-ethanol, coating and anti-staling agents. The complexity and diversity of these starch based industries and the demand for high quality end products through extensive starch processing, can only be met through the use of a broad range of starch and alpha-glucan modifying enzymes. The economic importance of these enzymes is such that the starch industry has grown to be the largest market for enzymes after the detergent industry. However, as the starch based industries expand and develop the demand for more efficient enzymes leading to lower production cost and higher quality products increases. This in turn stimulates interest in modifying the properties of existing starch and alpha-glucan acting enzymes through a variety of molecular evolution strategies. Within this review we examine and discuss the directed evolution strategies applied in the modulation of specific properties of starch and alpha-glucan acting enzymes and highlight the recent developments in the field of directed evolution techniques which are likely to be implemented in the future engineering of these enzymes.
    Journal of Biotechnology 04/2009; 140(3-4):184-93. · 3.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Directed evolution has become the preferred engineering approach to generate tailor-made enzymes. The method follows the design guidelines of nature: Darwinian selection of genetic variants. This review discusses the different stages of directed evolution experiments with the focus on developments in screening and selection procedures.
    International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Life 02/2009; 61(3):222-8. · 2.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Thermoanaerobacterium thermosulfurigenes cyclodextrin glucanotransferase primarily catalyses the formation of cyclic alpha-(1,4)-linked oligosaccharides (cyclodextrins) from starch. This enzyme also possesses unusually high hydrolytic activity as a side reaction, thought to be due to partial retention of ancestral enzyme function. This side reaction is undesirable, since it produces short saccharides that are responsible for the breakdown of the cyclodextrins formed, thus limiting the yield of cyclodextrins produced. To reduce the competing hydrolysis reaction, while maintaining the cyclization activity, we applied directed evolution, introducing random mutations throughout the cgt gene by error-prone PCR. Mutations in two residues, Ser-77 and Trp-239, on the outer region of the active site, lowered the hydrolytic activity up to 15-fold with retention of cyclization activity. In contrast, mutations within the active site could not lower hydrolytic rates, indicating an evolutionary optimized role for cyclodextrin formation by residues within this region. The crystal structure of the most effective mutant, S77P, showed no alterations to the peptide backbone. However, subtle conformational changes to the side chains of active-site residues had occurred, which may explain the increased cyclization/hydrolysis ratio. This indicates that secondary effects of mutations located on the outer regions of the catalytic site are required to lower the rates of competing side reactions, while maintaining the primary catalytic function. Subsequent functional analysis of various glucanotransferases from the superfamily of glycoside hydrolases also suggests a gradual evolutionary progression of these enzymes from a common 'intermediate-like' ancestor towards specific transglycosylation activity.
    Biochemical Journal 09/2008; 413(3):517-25. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Small molecule inhibitors play an essential role in the selective inhibition of enzymes associated with human infection and metabolic disorders. Targeted enzymes may evolve toward inhibitor resistance through selective incorporation of mutations. Acquisition of insensitivity may, however, result in profound devolution of native enzyme function and stability. We therefore investigated the consequential effects on native function and stability by evolving a cyclodextrin glucanotransferase (CGTase) enzyme toward insensitivity to the small molecule inhibitor of the protein, acarbose. Error-prone PCR mutagenesis was applied to search the sequence space of CGTase for acarbose-insensitive variants. Our results show that all selected mutations were localized around the active site of the enzyme, and in particular, at the acceptor substrate binding sites, highlighting the regions importance in acarbose inhibition. Single mutations conferring increased resistance, K232E, F283L, and A230V, raised IC(50) values for acarbose between 3,500- and 6,700-fold when compared with wild-type CGTase but at a significant cost to catalytic efficiency. In addition, the thermostability of these variants was significantly lowered. These results reveal not only the relative ease by which resistance may be acquired to small molecule inhibitors but also the considerable cost incurred to native enzyme function and stability, highlighting the subsequent constraints in the further evolutionary potential of inhibitor-resistant variants.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 05/2008; 283(16):10727-34. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glycoside hydrolase family 13 (GH13) members have evolved to possess various distinct reaction specificities despite the overall structural similarity. In this study we investigated the evolutionary input required to effeciently interchange these specificities and also compared the effectiveness of laboratory evolution techniques applied, i.e., error-prone PCR and saturation mutagenesis. Conversion of our model enzyme, cyclodextrin glucanotransferase (CGTase), into an alpha-amylase like hydrolytic enzyme by saturation mutagenesis close to the catalytic core yielded a triple mutant (A231V/F260W/F184Q) with the highest hydrolytic rate ever recorded for a CGTase, similar to that of a highly active alpha-amylase, while cyclodextrin production was virtually abolished. Screening of a much larger, error-prone PCR generated library yielded far less effective mutants. Our results demonstrate that it requires only three mutations to change CGTase reaction specificity into that of another GH13 enzyme. This suggests that GH13 members may have diversified by introduction of a limited number of mutations to the common ancestor, and that interconversion of reaction specificites may prove easier than previously thought.
    Biochemistry 11/2007; 46(39):11216-22. · 3.38 Impact Factor