Research

Our research

  • Understanding enzyme reaction mechanisms
  • Chemistry of the nature
  • New ideas/new combination/ better efficiency
  • Green and clean technology
  • Challenging nature by creating new activities
  • Constructing new pathways to do useful work
  • Engineering enzymes to work better
  • Linking to process and upscale engineering
  • Degradation of biomass/waste to clean energy
  • Biomass and pretreatment in large scale
  • Detection/Detoxification/Biosynthesis
Enzyme Catalysis and Engineering

Enzyme structures and mechanisms (Discover frontier knowledge to support technology development).
Enzymes are catalysts that are vital for all organisms to maintain their cellular activities. Understanding enzyme reaction mechanisms has tremendous significance in technology development.
Our research group has long been recognized for pioneering work in the discovery of reaction mechanisms of redox and aldolase enzymes. We use a multi-disciplinary approach and a wide range of physical and biochemical tools and techniques such as transient kinetics, spectroscopy, structural biology and computational chemistry for studying enzymatic reactions.
Our discoveries and knowledge are used for development of applications in on-going research projects in our group.

Selected recent publications

  • Pimviriyakul P, Surawatanawong P, Chaiyen P. Oxidative Dehalogenation and Denitration by a Flavin-dependent Monooxygenase is Controlled by Substrate Deprotonation. Chem Sci. 2018;9:7468-82.
  • Pongpamorn P, Watthaisong P, Pimviriyakul P, Jaruwat A, Lawan N, Chitnumsub P, Chaiyen P. Identification of a Hotspot Residue for Improving the Thermostability of a Flavin-Dependent Monooxygenase. Chembiochem. 2019 Dec 13;20(24):3020-3031.
  • Trisrivirat D, Lawan N, Chenprakhon P, Matsui D, Asano Y, Chaiyen P*. Mechanistic insights into the dual activities of the single active site of L-lysine oxidase/monooxygenase from Pseudomonas sp. AIU 813. J Biol Chem. 2020 Aug 7;295(32):11246-11261.
  • Phintha A, Prakinee K, Jaruwat A, Lawan N, Visitsatthawong S, Kantiwiriyawanitch C, Songsungthong W, Trisrivirat D, Chenprakhon P, Mulholland AJ, van Pee KH, Chitnumsub P, Chaiyen P. Dissecting the low catalytic capability of flavin-dependent halogenases. J Biol Chem. 2021 Jan;296:100068.
Biocatalysis and Cascade Reactions

Biocatalysis (using enzymes in synthesis of valuable chemicals). The chemicals industry is under pressure to conserve energy, reduce CO2 emissions and minimize toxic waste so as to reduce environmental damage. Biocatalysis is the use of enzymatic reactions in the forms of isolated enzymes or in whole cells to catalyze chemical reactions. The use of enzymatic reactions in chemical production can contribute to greener and cleaner industries. With the catalytic power of enzymes, the process can be operated under mild pH and temperature and avoids creation of hazardous intermediates and waste.

The enzymes being investigated in our group with potential applications in these areas include flavin-dependent oxygenases, halogenases, dehalogenases, oxidases, metal-dependent oxygenases and aldolases, and PLP-dependent aldolases. Substrates for these enzymes are mostly aromatic compounds, sugars and amino acid that are derived from biomass.

Selected recent publications

Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic Biology

Synthetic Biology (Engineering cells to perform useful tasks).
Synthetic biology is the design and construction of new biological entities such as enzymes, genetic circuits, and cells or the redesign of existing biological systems. Research in this field is multidisciplinary by nature and employs an engineering approach to construct and put together new or engineered biomolecular units such enzymes, genetic circuits, metabolic pathways, etc. In general, the assembly of these biomolecular parts and devices is performed to solve specific problems or accomplish specific goals.

Synthetic biology projects in our group employ state-of-the-art technology to construct engineered cells and new metabolic pathways for turning bio-wastes such as lignocellulosic biomass, sugar, and triglyceride into value-added products. We also have chemical engineering expertise for technology scale-up so that cell prototypes can be produced on industrial scale. We aim to develop technology to support Circular Economy which is a sustainable mode of industrial processes to fight against environmental damage and climate change crisis.

Selected recent publications

  • Jaroensuk J, Intasian P, Kiattisewee C, Munkajohnpon P, Chunthaboon P, Buttranon S, Trisrivirat D, Wongnate T, Maenpuen S, Tinikul R, Chaiyen P. Addition of formate dehydrogenase increases the production of renewable alkane from an engineered metabolic pathway. J Biol Chem. 2019 Jul 26;294(30):11536-11548.
  • Jaroensuk J, Intasian P, Wattanasuepsin W, Akeratchatapan N, Kesornpun C, Kittipanukul N, Chaiyen P. Enzymatic reactions and pathway engineering for the production of renewable hydrocarbons. J Biotechnol. 2020 Feb 10;309:1-19.
  • Munkajohnpong P, Kesornpun C, Buttranon S, Jaroensuk J, Weeranoppanant N, Chaiyen P. Fatty Alcohol Production: An Opportunity of Bioprocess. Biofuel Bioprod Bioref 2020;14:986-1009.
  • Trisrivirat D, Hughes JMX, Hoeven R, Faulkner M, Toogood H, Chaiyen P, Scrutton NS. Promoter engineering for microbial bio-alkane gas production. Synth Biol (Oxf). 2020 Oct 27;5(1):ysaa022.
Bioreporter and Detection

Smart Biodetection (Develop detection tools based on biomolecules). Nature is smart and beautiful. Some of enzymatic reactions studied by our group can generate signals such as light or electricity output. These reactions can be linked to detection of specific molecules including genes related to diseases or pesticides contaminated in environment and food.

We have developed bioreporting technologies based on enzymatic reactions of luciferases or enzymes that can emit blue, green or orange light. These reactions can be used as in vivo cell monitoring tools for specific gene or disease detection in experimental animals. We have also developed proprietary technology to detect toxic compounds such as pesticides or herbicides contaminating agricultural products and the environment.

Selected recent publications