Catalytic Promiscuity and the Evolution of New Enzymatic Activities

Chem Biol. 1999 Apr;6(4):R91-R105. doi: 10.1016/S1074-5521(99)80033-7.


Several contemporary enzymes catalyze alternative reactions distinct from their normal biological reactions. In some cases the alternative reaction is similar to a reaction that is efficiently catalyzed by an evolutionary related enzyme. Alternative activities could have played an important role in the diversification of enzymes by providing a duplicated gene a head start towards being captured by adaptive evolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / enzymology
  • Catalysis
  • Enzymes / chemistry
  • Enzymes / genetics
  • Enzymes / metabolism*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Engineering


  • Enzymes