Background

Cytochromes P450 (P450s or CYPs) are heme-containing oxygenase enzymes that catalyse crucial reactions in physiology, biosynthesis and biodegradation. The power of P450s can be recruited for the clean, green chemical synthesis of  important intermediates in the bulk chemical, pharmaceutical and agrochemical Industries.  However, their application is frustrated by natural limitations such as low activity, insoluble gene expression and the dependence on auxiliary electron transport proteins for full activity, each of which militate against the scale-up of P450-catalysed reactions.

As part of the P4FIFTY network, research groups at ten European institutions will collaborate on trying to address some of these limitations, including the following areas: Gene discovery for new P450 activity from microbes and plants; Enabling P450 application through fusion protein technology; Protein engineering using strategies informed by X-ray structure and bioinformatics; Process technology for the scale-up of P450-catalysed reactions.