Enzymes as Parts in Need of Replacement - and How to Extend Their Working Life

Nathan D Tivendale, Andrew D Hanson, Christopher S Henry, Adrian D Hegeman, A Harvey Millar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Enzymes catalyze reactions in vivo at different rates and each enzyme molecule has a lifetime limit before it is degraded and replaced to enable catalysis to continue. Considering these rates together as a unitless ratio of catalytic cycles until replacement (CCR) provides a new quantitative tool to assess the replacement schedule of and energy investment into enzymes as they relate to function. Here, we outline the challenges of determining CCRs and new approaches to overcome them and then assess the CCRs of selected enzymes in bacteria and plants to reveal a range of seven orders of magnitude for this ratio. Modifying CCRs in plants holds promise to lower cellular costs, to tailor enzymes for particular environments, and to breed enzyme improvements for crop productivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-669
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Plant Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


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