Postgraduate Profiles

Natalie Smith

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Thesis: Investigating the biological channelling of a reactive intermediate in the bifunctional enzyme DmpFG.

Biological channelling occurs in various enzymes and involves the direct transfer of reaction intermediates from one active site to another through buried molecular channels. While many channels and intermediates have been identified only a limited amount is known about the energetics of this process. In this project we will use a computational technique known as metadynamics to determine whether the channelling process is energetically feasible in the enzyme DmpFG. A variety of kinetic and crystallographic techniques will also be used to elucidate the kinetics of this process.

Why my research is important

Biological channelling is a topic of great interest as it is thought to occur in many enzymes. Channelling serves many purposes including increasing the overall efficiency of the reaction pathway, preventing the breakdown of reactive intermediates and protecting the organism from poisonous substances. Gaining a greater understanding of this process will ultimately allow the development of more efficient enzymes.