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Mechanistic studies of class II diterpene cyclases

The class II diterpene cyclases catalyze protonation-initiated (bi)cyclization reactions that characterize labdane-related diterpenoid biosynthesis. In collaboration with Prof. David Christianson (Univ. Penn), we have provided the first crystal structures for class II diterpene cyclases.  From these we have generated significant insights into the underlying determinants of enzymatic catalysis, including the generation of enzymes wherein single residue changes have led to novel product outcome.