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Enzyme Crystallography for Biotechnological Applications

In the H2020 funded project BIOCASCADES, eleven early-stage researchers (PhD students) will investigate the development of sustainable(chemo)enzymatic cascade reactions for the synthesis of optically pure amines and aminoalcohols as pharmaceutical ingredients. The BIOCASCADES project combines different techniques such as biocatalysis, transition-metal catalysis, compartmentalization, protein engineering and reaction engineering in order to develop commercially viable and environmentally benign chemoenzymatic one pot reactions. By avoiding intermediate downstream and purification steps, cascade reactions minimize production costs and decrease energy demand and waste production. They are thus expected to make a major contribution to address one of the main challenges for the European industry, the development of sustainable and efficient production processes under the ‘green chemistry’ philosophy.

The consortium is formed by eight leading academic laboratories in biocatalysis (TU Delft, KTH Stockholm), enzyme discovery (University Greifswald, University Amsterdam), protein engineering (TU Graz, Ruhr-University Bochum) and chemoenzymatic synthesis (University Bielefeld, University Oviedo). They work together with DSM, Europe’s leading chemical company and a network of four innovative SMEs who contribute their expertise in bioinformatics and crystallography (Saromics), enzyme immobilization (Viazym), enzyme production (Enzymicals) and technical-scale biocatalysis (EntreChem). By combining this versatile expertise, the consortium can achieve a success that would not be possible in isolated projects.

Virus-X - crystal structures of virus proteins

• The Virus-X project will employ sequence-based bioprospecting methodologies combining bioinformatics, functional analysis and structural biology (3D structure determination) to explore metagenomes of viruses in natural ecosystems and the encoded gene products.
•The Virus-X project puts emphasis on developing the metagenomics toolbox creating new toools to strengthen future efforts in the field. This includes new bioinformatics tools for sequence analysis and structure-function analysis of protein families.
•The Virus-X project will enhance the understanding of microbial communities and functional dynamics between viruses and microorganisms. The exploration of viruses in nature focuses on natural ecosystems in the ocean off the coast of Norway and geothermal areas (hot springs) in Iceland.
•Virus-X is a research and development plan ultimately leading to innovations and industrial value in the form of specific marketable products of viral origin, i.e. biocatalysts for biotech applications, as well as improved services in the field of bioinformatics and structural biology.
The project includes 15 academic and industrial partners and is coordinated by