DOI: 10.1002/bmb.21778 ISSN:

A project‐oriented biochemistry laboratory for protein engineering and structure–function using small laccase enzyme from Streptomyces coelicolor

Arie Van Wieren, Philip Colen, Sudipta Majumdar
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry


An understanding of structure–function relationships in proteins is essential for modern biochemical studies. The integration of common freely accessible bioinformatics tools available online with the knowledge of protein‐engineering tools provide a fundamental understanding of the application of protein structure–function for biochemical research. In order for students to apply their prior knowledge of recombinant protein technology into the understanding of protein structure–function relationships, we developed a semester‐long project‐oriented biochemistry laboratory experience that is the second laboratory course of a series. For easier integration of knowledge and application, we organized this course into four sequential modules: protein structure visualization/modification, mutagenesis target identification, site‐directed mutagenesis, and mutant protein expression, purification, and characterization. These tasks were performed on the protein small laccase (SLAC) that was cloned and characterized by students in the previous semester during the first biochemistry laboratory course of the series. This goal‐oriented project‐based approach helped students apply their prior knowledge to newly introduced techniques to understand protein structure–function relationships in this research‐like laboratory setting. A student assessment before and after the course demonstrated an overall increase in learning and enthusiasm for this topic.

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