Redesigning protein pKa values

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The ability to re-engineer enzymatic pH-activity profiles is of importance for industrial applications of enzymes. We theoretically explore the feasibility of re-engineering enzymatic pH-activity profiles by changing active site pKa values using point mutations. We calculate the maximum achievable ΔpKa values for 141 target titratable groups in seven enzymes by introducing conservative net-charge altering point mutations. We examine the importance of the number of mutations introduced, their distance from the target titratable group, and the characteristics of the target group itself. The results show that multiple mutations at 10Å can change pKa values up to two units, but that the introduction of a requirement to keep other pKa values constant reduces the magnitude of the achievable ΔpKa. The algorithm presented shows a good correlation with existing experimental data and is available for download and via a web server at

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