Mechanisms of peptide and phosphoester hydrolysis catalyzed by two promiscuous metalloenzymes (insulin degrading enzyme and glycerophosphodiesterase) and their synthetic analogues

Qiaoyu Hu, Vindi M. Jayasinghe-Arachchige, Gaurav Sharma, Leonardo F. Serafim, Thomas J. Paul, Rajeev Prabhakar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The hydrolysis of extremely stable peptide and phosphoester bonds by metalloenzymes is of great interest in biotechnology and industry. However, due to various shortcomings only a handful of these enzymes have been used for industrial applications. Therefore, in the last two decades intensive scientific efforts have been made in rational development of small molecules to imitate the activities of natural enzymes. Despite these efforts, their currently available synthetic analogues are inferior in terms of selectivity, catalytic rate, and turnover and the designing of efficient artificial metalloenzymes remains a distant goal. This is a challenging area of research that necessitates a rigorous integration between experiments and theory. The realization of this goal requires knowledge of the catalytic activities of both enzymes and their existing analogues and an effective fusion of that knowledge. This article reviews several studies in which a plethora of computational techniques have been successfully employed to investigate the functioning of two chemically promiscuous mono- and binuclear metalloenzymes (insulin degrading enzyme and glycerophosphodiesterase) and two synthetic analogues. These studies will help us derive fundamental principles of peptide and phosphoester hydrolysis and pave the way to design efficient small molecule catalysts for these reactions. This article is categorized under: Structure and Mechanism > Reaction Mechanisms and Catalysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1466
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Computational Molecular Science
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes



  • metalloenzymes
  • peptide hydrolysis
  • phosphoester hydrolysis
  • synthetic analogues
  • theoretical and computational techniques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Materials Chemistry

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