Functional Evolution and Origin of Enzymes of the Bacterial Glycogen/Starch Biosynthetic Pathway
The goal of scientific discovery is to answer basic questions about how the world around us functions. We accomplish this by constantly questioning, dismantling, reassembling, poking, prodding, and testing every detail until we understand it fully. At times we use this knowledge to engineer things to function in different ways, and in most cases try to benefit humanity as a whole. The goal of this research is to understand how enzymes of the bacterial glycogen/starch biosynthetic pathway originated. Additionally, we want to understand how the function of the control enzyme of this pathway, ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (ADP-Glc PPase), has evolved. This is important because starch is a vital part of agriculture and industry worldwide. For instance, underdeveloped countries rely on a diet primarily composed of starch. In contrast, the consumption of starch in developed countries is predominately for industrial purposes. Numerous industrial applications include fertilizers, biodegradable plastics, adhesives, and alternative fuels. The impact of understanding the basic science of the regulation of this pathway may be seen in future manipulation of these enzymes to produce greater quality and quantity of starch.