Paper accepted: ”Protein-engineering of chitosanase from Bacillus sp. MN to alter its substrate specificity”

Today, Eva Regel and her co-authors’ paper on our first chitosanase engineering was accepted for publication in the journal “Biotechnology and Bioengineering”. It is also the first paper with our postdoc Ratna Singh as senior author: she did the initial bioinformatics planning and also the first amino acid exchanges, and supervised the further work Eva then did, first during her Master thesis, then during her doctoral work, supported by Tobias Weikert and Anna Niehues. I think this will become a key paper for us in two respects: firstly, it puts “our” chitosanase BspCsnMN in the limelight as one of the best studied chitosanases out there; and secondly, it is our first paper in which we (or actually anyone) use site directed mutagenesis to steer substrate specificity of a chitin/chitosan modifying enzyme to produce a different set of products. And, after we just showed in Tobi’s paper that the chitosanases which are described in literature to specifically cleave only between two GlcN units (the old class II chitosanases) are in fact less specific than thought, so that no such chitosanase is now known to naturally exist - we have built one! And finally, it brings our paper count for the year to 14, at par with our best year so far, 2015. And it raises the cumulative impact factor to above 77.