- Structure-function relationships in proteins adapted to extreme temperatures
- Biochemical and biophysical characterization of protein stability and enzyme activity
- Biotechnological applications of psychrophilic enzymes
The Laboratory of Biochemistry focuses its research activities on the molecular adaptations displayed by extremophilic biomolecules, with special reference to proteins and enzymes. The scientific staff has produced pioneering contributions in the field of cold-adapted proteins.
Protein stability and enzyme activity at extreme biological temperatures
Series of homologous psychrophilic, mesophilic and thermophilic proteins are produced and characterized for specific aspects of protein stability or enzyme activity, involving structure energetics by differential scanning calorimetry, kinetics of unfolding/refolding by chemical denaturants recorded by spectroscopic techniques or newly developed methods for enzyme kinetics recorded by isothermal titration calorimetry.
Biotechnological applications of psychrophilic enzymes
Cold-adapted enzymes are highly active at low and moderate temperatures allowing the use of lower enzyme amounts and the setup of non-heated processes. These enzymes are also heat-labile and easily inactivated. Relevant examples are the industrial production of an Antarctic xylanase by Puratos for backing applications or the Antarctic phosphatase sold by New England Biolabs: both have been isolated from our Antarctic culture collection.
- D’Amico, S., Marx, J.C., Gerday, C. and Feller, G. (2003) Activity-stability relationships in extremophilic enzymes. J. Biol. Chem. 278, 7891-7896.
- Feller, G. and Gerday, C. (2003) Psychrophilic enzymes: hot topics in cold adaptation. Nature Rev. Microbiol. 1, 200-208.
- Feller G. (2010) Protein stability and enzyme activity at extreme biological temperatures. J. Phys.-Condes. Matter 22, 323101.
- Struvay C., Negro S., Matagne A. and Feller G. (2013) Energetics of protein stability at extreme environmental temperatures in bacterial trigger factors. Biochemistry 52, 2982-2990.
- Godin-Roulling A., Schmidpeter P.A.M., Schmid F.X. and Feller G. (2015) Functional adaptations of the bacterial chaperone trigger factor to extreme environmental temperatures. Environ. Microbiol. 17, 2407-2420.