Protein Engineering & Computational Protein Design
The Chica Lab specializes in the development of novel proteins with useful properties for their application in chemistry and biology. In particular, we are interested in developing new biocatalysts for asymmetric synthesis as well as improved red fluorescent proteins for imaging applications. To achieve these goals, we develop and exploit state-of-the-art multistate computational protein design methods that help predict mutations that will lead to the desired protein property. More information on our current research projects can be found in the Research section.
We recently used rational design to increase the quantum yield and brightness of red fluorescent proteins (RFPs) by rigidifying their chromophore via the creation of a triple-decker motif of aromatic rings (see figure below). The best mutant identified displayed an over three-fold improvement relative to the parent RFP and was isolated following the screening of only 48 mutants, a library size that is several orders of magnitude smaller than those previously used to achieve equivalent gains in quantum yield in other RFPs. This study was published in ACS Chemical Biology, and can be found here.
We gratefully acknowledge support from the following agencies:
Protein Engineering, Computational Protein Design, Multistate Design, Enzymes, Biocatalysis, Fluorescent Proteins, Molecular Modeling, Protein Science, High-Performance Computing, Biological Chemistry, Protein Dynamics
Roberto Chica, Ph. D.
(613) 562-5800 x 1988