Over the last 50 years, sequencing, structural biology and bioinformatics have completely revolutionised biomolecular science, with millions of sequences and tens of thousands of three dimensional structures becoming available. The bioinformatics of enzymes is well served by, mostly free, online databases. BRENDA describes the chemistry, substrate specificity, kinetics, preparation and biological sources of enzymes, while KEGG is valuable for understanding enzymes and metabolic pathways. EzCatDB, SFLD and MACiE are key repositories for data on the chemical mechanisms by which enzymes operate. At the current rate of genome sequencing and manual annotation, human curation will never finish the functional annotation of the ever-expanding list of known enzymes. Hence there is an increasing need for automated annotation, though it is not yet widespread for enzyme data. In contrast, functional ontologies such as the Gene Ontology already profit from automation. Despite our growing understanding of enzyme structure and dynamics, we are only beginning to be able to design novel enzymes. One can now begin to trace the functional evolution of enzymes using phylogenetics. The ability of enzymes to perform secondary functions, albeit relatively inefficiently, gives clues as to how enzyme function evolves. Substrate promiscuity in enzymes is one example of imperfect specificity in protein-ligand interactions. Similarly, most drugs bind to more than one protein target. This may sometimes result in helpful polypharmacology as a drug modulates plural targets, but also often leads to adverse side-effects. Many chemoinformatics approaches can be used to model the interactions between druglike molecules and proteins in silico. We can even use quantum chemical techniques like DFT and QM/MM to compute the structural and energetic course of enzyme catalysed chemical reaction mechanisms, including a full description of bond making and breaking.
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|
- Computational Biology
- Databases, Protein
- Quantum Theory