Protein engineering has emerged as a powerful tool for engineering enzymes with new functions. We have been investigating an arylmalonate decarboxylase that acts on unnatural arylmalonates to give (R)-α-arylpropionates (profens). This chapter evaluates the potential use of directed evolution and rational design in completely changing the function of the decarboxylase to an artificial racemase and (S)-selective decarboxylase. The variants are useful biocatalysts for producing optically active profens.
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