Discovery of novel pathways for carbohydrate metabolism

Tyler M.M. Stack, John A. Gerlt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Closing the gap between the increasing availability of complete genome sequences and the discovery of novel enzymes in novel metabolic pathways is a significant challenge. Here, we review recent examples of assignment of in vitro enzymatic activities and in vivo metabolic functions to uncharacterized proteins, with a focus on enzymes and metabolic pathways involved in the catabolism and biosynthesis of monosaccharides and polysaccharides. The most effective approaches are based on analyses of sequence-function space in protein families that provide clues for the predictions of the functions of the uncharacterized enzymes. As summarized in this Opinion, this approach allows the discovery of the catabolism of new molecules, new pathways for common molecules, and new enzymatic chemistries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-70
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Carbohydrate metabolism
  • Genome neighborhood networks
  • Sequence similarity networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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