The group “Enzymatic Production Lines” (Biotechnology group) was founded in Octeber 2015 at the Department of Biochemistry, School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the University of Kassel, Germany. It supports both educational and research activities of the School and was in direct connection with the group of Biochemistry of Prof. Dr. Friedrich Herberg. The group was recently moved to University of Crete, at the Department of Chemistry.
Our main research target is the development of biocatalytic processes for the production of high-added value products, or the valorization of wastes. Significant part of our research is on the development of enzymatic cascades and on the establishment of techniques for the oriented immobilization of enzymes. Thus, we can artificially reconstitute metabolic pathways in vitro, as production lines are assembled in the industry.
The general topics of interest are:
- Identification of novel enzymes and development of enzymatic cascades.
- Optimization of biocatalysts via protein engineering.
- Development of oriented enzyme immobilization approached, based on biocompatible and - when possible - reversible click-chemistry.
- Utilization of tailor-made nanomaterials and exploitation of their intrinsic properties during the enzymatic process.
- Study of the enzyme function-structure relationship onto organized nanostructures.
- Process development.
Our running projects are focused on natural product s-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) dependent methyl transferases. We are working on the development of a regeneration system for this costly and instable cofactor, a regeneration system that could easily be used with any type of enzyme that uses SAM (such as DNA-methyl transferases). In parallel, we investigate new ways of oriented immobilization of enzymes, as well as new materials as immobilization supports.
Our group is hosted at the laboratories of the Biochemistry Department. We have Biosafety level 1 (S1) areas, fully equipped for the recombinant expression of enzymes and enzyme characterization (clean bench, autoclave, thermocyclers, chambers for agarose gel electrophoresis and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, shakers, incubators, thermoshakers, french press, sonicator, protein purification system etc). Concerning analytics, we have 2 microtiter plate readers, 1 spectrophotometer, an ITC unit and an HPLC with diode array and fluorescence detector, while we have access to gas chromatography with FID detector and NMR. The group of Biochemistry also has surface plasmon resonance systems for the study of protein-protein interactions, or the interactions of a molecule with the protein.
The field that we are active is multidisciplinary, combining biochemistry, biotechnology, molecular biology and material science. The group of Enzymatic Production Lines has a wide collaboration network from several scientific fields all around the world. Some collaborating groups are the following: