Designer installation of a substrate recruitment domain to tailor enzyme specificity

Rodney Park, Chayanid Ongpipattanakul, Satish K. Nair, Albert A. Bowers, Brian Kuhlman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Promiscuous enzymes that modify peptides and proteins are powerful tools for labeling biomolecules; however, directing these modifications to desired substrates can be challenging. Here, we use computational interface design to install a substrate recognition domain adjacent to the active site of a promiscuous enzyme, catechol O-methyltransferase. This design approach effectively decouples substrate recognition from the site of catalysis and promotes modification of peptides recognized by the recruitment domain. We determined the crystal structure of this novel multidomain enzyme, SH3-588, which shows that it closely matches our design. SH3-588 methylates directed peptides with catalytic efficiencies exceeding the wild-type enzyme by over 1,000-fold, whereas peptides lacking the directing recognition sequence do not display enhanced efficiencies. In competition experiments, the designer enzyme preferentially modifies directed substrates over undirected substrates, suggesting that we can use designed recruitment domains to direct post-translational modifications to specific sequence motifs on target proteins in complex multisubstrate environments. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)460-467
Number of pages8
JournalNature chemical biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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