A central research topic of our department is the analysis of the molecular reaction mechanisms of enzymes (biocatalysts). In this context, we study enzymes with vitamin-derived cofactors, with metal ions, and Schiff base-forming enzymes. A particular focus is laid on the structural and kinetic characterization of reaction intermediates by high-resolution X-ray crystallography, steady-state and transient kinetic methods, NMR spectroscopy and theoretical studies. Knowledge about the reaction mechanism is exploited to redesign enzymes for biocatalytic applications and for drug design.
Fig. Structure of a reaction intermediate in transketolase solved in our group (Asztalos et al., 2007).