Special Issue "Enzymes from the Sea: Sources, Molecular Biology and Bioprocesses"
A special issue of Marine Drugs (ISSN 1660-3397).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2011)
Dr. Antonio Trincone
Marine ecosystem is considered a rather unexplored source of natural bioactive substances with potential therapeutic activity and as consequence it should be also appreciated as a source of enzymes carrying new and surprising catalytic activities to be applied in biocatalysis. Notwithstanding commercial exploitations in marine biotechnology are not familiar as in the whole biotechnology field. The uniqueness of marine biocatalysts could characterize bioprocesses taking advantages by habitat-related properties such as salt tolerance, hyperthermostability, barophilicity, cold adaptivity, etc. But novelty brought out by marine enzymes is more pervasive, in fact new characteristics can be discovered at molecular level of catalysis specially concerning the stereochemical asset of products. The analysis of marine bio-processes from chemical and stereochemical viewpoints of catalysis could better reveal the potential of marine sources in biocatalysis. Substrate specificity and affinity play somehow leader roles. Both are evolved properties that are linked to the metabolic functions of the enzymes and to ecological asset related to the natural source. Consequently the range of available relevant catalysts is a key issue. Sources are represented by marine microorganism, plants and animals but great efforts are directed towards extremophiles or symbiotic microorganisms and towards molecular biology tools. The advent of PCR, the advances in recombinant expression systems, and the genomic research in general, allowed the access to new natural and modified enzymes useful for biotechnological purposes. As far as this genetic improvements are considered, attempts were made to enhance the stability and activity of such enzymes, or to increase their specificity for application as efficient catalysts. Setting up bioreactors for marine metabolite production is a key point in marine biotechnology. Special culture conditions and bioengineering including different immobilized cell technologies are of great interest in this field to increase production of natural products or analogs. In this special issue articles or reviews concerning bioprocesses will discuss more recent successes in chemical domain of catalysis with marine biocatalysts for promoting the in-depth knowledge in this field. Sources of enzymes, marine molecular biology tools and study of marine biocatalysis (including enzymatic characteristics such as yields, stereochemistry, special reaction conditions, isolation techniques, downstream aspects, structure of products obtained), will characterize this issue.
The potential of the marine habitat should be thoroughly known and possibly the way for access to an useful biocatalysts should avoid destructive large-scale collections of marine biomass for enzyme production. These two aspects are day by day becoming of interest and a future increase in articles dealing with the use of marine enzymes should be expected.
As the Guest Editor, I invite researchers from industry and academia, working with marine enzymes to describe recent advances in the field.
Dr. Antonio Trincone
- marine ecology
- marine biotechnology
- marine microorganisms