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Matthew Bennett

Doctor of Philosophy, (Molecular Biosciences)
Study Completed: 2008
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
The Structure and Function of Esterases from Lactic Acid Bacteria

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Mr Bennett’s research focused on the structural studies of a family of bacterial esterases, which are responsible for distinct flavours in fermented dairy products. Using x-ray diffraction techniques, the structures of three different enzymes with different activities and substrate preferences were determined. Although they were shown to share a common basic fold, the structure of each enzyme was found to be decorated with different structural motifs that reflected both the substrate specificity and activity. Analysis of two of the structures, compared with a series of ligands representing various stages of the reaction pathway, provided a snapshot of the reaction mechanism for each enzyme. These results also provided evidence for a novel mechanism employed by these esterases to ensure the reaction proceeds to completion.

Associate Professor Gill Norris

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