Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science
INPEC node since 1993
Our current research activities focus on:
• Structure-function studies and engineering of biomass-converting (redox) enzymes.
• Applied enzymology for converting biomass to useful products; biorefining; bioprocess technology.
• Biomass-degrading microbial communities & enzyme discovery.
• Gene expression systems, protein secretion and surface-display in lactic acid bacteria.
Highlights include discoveries on the structural basis and practical implications of enzyme processivity in polysaccharide degradation (around 2005) and the discovery, in 2010 (with a prelude in 2005), of lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs), which have revolutionized the way we deal with enzymatic biomass conversion. Moreover, these LPMOs display an unprecedented catalytic mechanism involving a single copper ion. In 2017, we published another key paper on LPMOs, shedding light on this catalytic mechanism and showing that these enzymes likely are peroxygenases. As a result of the discovery of LPMOs, much of our current research is focused on understanding and engineering these enzymes, with the aims of optimizing their industrial application and making them do new things (catalyze new reactions). We also have a strong interest in the interplay between LPMOs and other redox enzymes in biomass-degrading eco-systems.
Keywords: cellulase, chitinase, lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase, LPMO, lignocellulose, thermostability, directed evolution, copper, redox enzymes, protease