The effect of crowded environment on the catalytic activity and dynamics of viral proteases 

Enzymes are biomolecular catalysts that speed up the rates of biochemical reactions to make them fast enough to sustain life. Even viruses contain genetic information on how to express the enzymes crucial for catalysis of the processes leading to viral replication. Importantly, these enzymes once inhibited preclude viral infections in humans. However, to design an effective inhibitor, and further antiviral drug, we have to understand how these enzymes work, i.e., understand at the molecular level the mechanisms by which they catalyze the reactions. To understand how the enzymes work, we need to determine their reaction rates and obtain quantitative measures such as kinetic parameters. The knowledge of kinetic parameters will help us answer the following fundamental questions: what is the enzyme's catalytic mechanism; what is the enzyme's function in biochemical cycles and its global role in the metabolism; what controls enzyme’s activity and how this activity can be hindered. Therefore, due to the described crucial importance of enzymes, in this project we will investigate the biochemical reactions catalyzed by various viral enzymes.

Principal Investigator: dr hab. Joanna Trylska, CeNT UW   

Project period: 2017 – 2020