Bioinorganic and Green Chemistry - Bjerrum Group
Scientific focus areas:
- Structure and function of redox active metalloenzymes.
- Metal ions in biological systems: structure, function, binding.
- Metal ion catalyzed protein oxidation and reactive oxygen species.
- Mechanistic, functional and structural aspects of redox active enzymes in biomass conversion
- Labelled proteins/peptides/DNA/RNA
Studies concerning the structure and function of metal ions in biological systems on a molecular level are in focus in order to increase the understanding of the chemical processes, mechanism and the dynamic interactions, which takes place between metal ions, biomolecules and proteins in metabolic or biotechnological processes.
At present, I am engaged in studies concerning enzymes that are reacting with reactive oxygen species (O2, H2O2 and O2-). Thus, my group is working with bioinorganic model systems, native enzymes as well as variants of these enzymes. One goal is characterization of metalloenzymes using spectroscopic methods such as UV-Vis, CD, EPR and fluorescence spectroscopy in order to clarify the function and coordination of the metal ion under catalytic conditions. These investigations include enzymes such as laccases, peroxidases, lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase and superoxide dismutase, which all involves metal ions able to change oxidation state and coordination during the catalytic process. Another goal is to show that redox active enzymes are useful in green chemistry to convert biomass into high value product under mild conditions. At present, my research extend to study the reactions of reactive oxygen species with metalloenzymes in photo-activated systems. Our group is also studying the effect of ROS in protein oxidation and cellular damage. We have developed a “controlled metal–ion catalyzed oxidation” system to study early ROS-induced protein damage in various proteins. For the last seven years, part of the research has been focused on how to integrate DNA biochemistry with metal ions and nanotechnology to develop fluorescent silver nanoclusters (AgNCs) for microRNA biomarker detection. Through systematic studies, we have defined the fundamental role of DNA secondary structure in formation of fluorescent AgNCs for efficient microRNA detection.