In a new article in ACS Chem. Biol., a team of researchers led by Northwestern Proteomics graduate student Luis Schachner show that measuring proteoforms – the specific molecular forms of proteins including post-translational modifications – can shed new light on well-studied systems and unlock avenues to supercharge them. Triosephosphate isomerase (TPI) is a highly studied and important enzyme in cellular metabolism and is considered a ‘perfect enzyme’ due to its high efficiency. In this study, the activity of TPI was increased more than 4x after the team detected a previously uncharacterized activating modification and enriched for the activated form of TPI in a synthetic system. This work demonstrates that focusing on activated proteoforms can unlock increased performance for synthetic biology and biotechnology.

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