Computational Design of a Photocontrolled Cytosine Deaminase

Kristin M. Blacklock, Brahm J. Yachnin, G. Andrew Woolley, Sagar D. Khare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


There is growing interest in designing spatiotemporal control over enzyme activities using noninvasive stimuli such as light. Here, we describe a structure-based, computation-guided predictive method for reversibly controlling enzyme activity using covalently attached photoresponsive azobenzene groups. Applying the method to the therapeutically useful enzyme yeast cytosine deaminase, we obtained a ∼3-fold change in enzyme activity by the photocontrolled modulation of the enzyme's active site lid structure, while fully maintaining thermostability. Multiple cycles of switching, controllable in real time, are possible. The predictiveness of the method is demonstrated by the construction of a variant that does not photoswitch as expected from computational modeling. Our design approach opens new avenues for optically controlling enzyme function. The designed photocontrolled cytosine deaminases may also aid in improving chemotherapy approaches that utilize this enzyme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-17
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 10 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Computational Design of a Photocontrolled Cytosine Deaminase'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this