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Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2011 Jun;15(3):399-406. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2011.03.005. Epub 2011 Apr 4.

Utilizing natural diversity to evolve protein function: applications towards thermostability.

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School of Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Department of Biology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA.


Protein evolution relies on designing a library of sequences that capture meaningful functional diversity in a limited number of protein variants. Several approaches take advantage of the sequence space already explored through natural selection by incorporating sequence diversity available from modern genomes (and their ancestors) when designing these libraries. The success of these approaches is, partly, owing to the fact that modern sequence diversity has already been subjected to evolutionary selective forces and thus the diversity has already been deemed 'fit to survive'. Five of these approaches will be discussed in this review to highlight how protein engineers can use evolutionary sequence history/diversity of homologous proteins in unique ways to design protein libraries.

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