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Email: Professor Jenny Littlechild

Tel: + 44 (0) 1392 263489

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The Henry Wellcome Building for Biocatalysis
Stocker Road


Exeter Biocatalysis Centre is a multidisciplinary centre that has been established to study the structure, mechanism and commercial application of enzymes - 'Natures Catalysts'.

The centre creates a first class knowledge resource of academic, postdoctoral and PhD researchers drawing on a broad range of expertise to study and develop novel biological catalysts.

Centre staff have produced numerous highly citated publications and collaborated with many companies as well as attracting funding from a wide range of sources.

Research projects






Recent Publications

Complexity reduction and opportunities in the design, integration and intensification of biocatalytic processes for metabolite synthesis. Wohlgemuth, R., and Littlechild, J., (2022) Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol. 10:958606. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2022.958606ioengineering and Biotechnology

Biocatalysis as Key to Sustainable Industrial Chemistry Andrés R. Alcántara, Pablo Domínguez de María, Jennifer A. Littlechild, Martin Schürmann, Roger A. Sheldon, and Roland Wohlgemuth (2022) ChemSusChem, e202102709, 1-11.

Production of the Extremolyte Cyclic 2,3- Diphosphoglycerate Using Thermus thermophilus as a Whole-Cell Factory. De Rose SA, Finnigan W, Harmer NJ, Littlechild JA and The HotSolute consortium (2021) Front. Catal. 1:80341 doi: 10.3389/fctls.2021.803416

Biochemical and Structural Characterisation of a Novel D-Lyxose Isomerase From the Hyperthermophilic Archaeon Thermofilum sp. De Rose SA, Kuprat T, Isupov MN, Reinhardt A, Schönheit P and Littlechild JA (2021) Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol. 9:711487. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2021.711487

Structural Insights into a Novel Esterase from the East Pacific Rise and Its Improved Thermostability by a Semi-rational Design. Zhu C, Chen Y, Isupov MN, Littlechild JA, Sun L, Liu X, Wang Q, Gong H, Dong P, Zhang N, Wu Y. (2020). J Agric Food Chem. 69, 1079-1090.

Biosensors and Diagnostics for Fungal Detection Hussain, K K, Malavia, D, Johnson, E.M, Littlechild, Winlove P, Vollmer, F and Gow, N, Fungi (2020), 6, 349; doi:10.3390/jof6040349

Structural insights into the NAD+-dependent formate dehydrogenase mechanism revealed from the NADH complex and the formate NAD+ ternary complex of the Chaetomium thermophilum enzyme Yilmazer, B. Isupov,M. De Rose, S. Bulut, H. Benninghoff, J, Binay, B. and Littlechild, J.(2020) J. Structural Biology, online DOI 10.1016/j.jsb.2020.107657

A ‘Split-Gene’ Transketolase from the Hyper-thermophilic bacterium Carboxydothermus hydrogenoformans: Structure and Biochemical Characterization James P, Isupov MN, De Rose S A, Sayer C, Cole I S and Littlechild JA (2020) Front. Microbiol. 11:592353.doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.592353

Crystal structure of an ArabidopsisBON1 providing insights into the copine 1protein family Wang Q, Jiang M, Isupov MN, Chen Y, Littlechild JA, Sun L, Wu X, Wang Q, Yang W, Chen L et al. (2020) Plant Journal 103(3):1215-1232

Using enzyme cascades in biocatalysis: Highlight on transaminases and carboxylic acid reductases Cutlan, R., De Rose, S., Isupov, M.N., Littlechild, J.A., Harmer, N.J. (2020) Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Proteins and Proteomics, 1868, 140322

Engineering of a seven enzyme biotransformation using mathematical engineering and enzyme parts Finnigan,W, Cutlan,R, Snajdrova,R, Adams,J, Littlechild,J, Harmer,N (2019) ChemCatChem 11, 1-17

Structural basis for the Target DNA recognition and binding by the MYB domain of phosphate starvation response 1. Jiang M, Sun L, Isupov MN, Littlechild JA, Wu X, Wang Q, Wang Q, Yang W, Wu Y (2019). FEBS J.286, 2809-2821

X-ray structure of Fasciola hepatica Sigma class glutathione transferase 1 reveals a disulfide bond to support stability in gastro-intestinal environment. Line K, Isupov MN, LaCourse EJ, Cutress DJ, Morphew RM, Brophy PM, Littlechild JA. (2019) Scientific Rep, 9(1)

Thermostable Branched-Chain Amino Acid Transaminases from the Archaea Geoglobus acetivorans and Archaeoglobus fulgidus: Biochemical and Structural Characterization Isupov MN, Boyko KM, Sutter J-M, James P, Sayer C, Schmidt M Schoenheit P, Nikolaeva AY, Stekhanova TN, Mardanov AV, Ravin NV, Bezsudnova EY, Popov V and Littlechild JA (2019) Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol. 7:7.

New thermophilic α/β class epoxide hydrolases found in metagenomes from hot environments Erica Elisa Ferrandi, Christopher Sayer, Simone Antonio De Rose, Elisa Guazzelli, Carlotta Marchesi, Vahid Saneei, Michail N. Isupov, Jennifer A. Littlechild and Daniela Monti (2018) Front. Bioeng. and Biotechnol, 6, 144

Structural characterization of geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate synthase GACE1337 from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Geoglobus acetivorans. Petrova TE, Boyko KM, Nikolaeva AY, Stekhanova TN, Gruzdev EV, Mardanov AV, Stroilov VS, Littlechild JA, Popov VO, Bezsudnova EY, et al (2018). Extremophiles, 22(6), 877-888.

Discovery of Novel Hydrolases from Hot Environments Roland Wohlgemuth, Jennifer Littlechild, Daniela Monti, Kirk Schnorr, Teunke van Rossum, Bettina Siebers, Peter Menzel, Ilya V. Kublanov, Anne Gunn Rike, Georgios Skretas, Zalan Szabo, Xu Peng, Mark J. Young (2018) Biotechnology Advances, 36, 2077-2100

A high-sensitivity electrochemiluminescence-based ELISA for the measurement of the oxidative stress biomarker, 3-nitrotyrosine, in human blood serum and cells Knight, A R, Taylor, EL, Lukaszewski,R, Jensen, KT, Jones,HE, Carré,JE, MN, Isupov, Littlechild,JA. Bailey, SJ, Brewer,E, McDonald, TJ, Pitt, AR. Spickett, CM, Winyard PG (2018) Free Radical Biology and Medicine 120, 246–254

Diversity of bacteria and archaea from two shallow marine hydrothermal vents from Vulcano Island. Antranikian G, Suleiman M, Schäfers C, Adams MWW, Bartolucci S, Blamey JM, Birkeland NK, Bonch-Osmolovskaya E, da Costa MS, Cowan D, Danson M, Forterre P, Kelly R, Ishino Y, Littlechild J, Moracci M, Noll K, Oshima T, Robb F, Rossi M, Santos H, Schönheit P, Sterner R, Thauer R, Thomm M, Wiegel J, Stetter KO. (2017) Extremophiles. 21, 733-742.

Improving the ‘Tool Box’ for Robust Industrial Enzymes Littlechild, J. A. (2017) J. Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, 44, 711–720

Stabilization of a lipolytic enzyme for commercial application SA De Rose, H Novak, A Dowd, S Singh,DA Lang, J Littlechild (2017) Catalysts 7, 91 doi:10.3390/catal7030091

Carboxylic acid Reductases Finnigan W, Thomas A, Cromar H, Gough B, Snajdrova R, Adams J, Littlechild J A , Harmer N J (2017) ChemCatChem 2017, 9, 1005 – 1017

Structural and biochemical characterisation of Archaeoglobus fulgidus esterase reveals a bound CoA molecule in the vicinity of the active site Sayer C, Finnigan W, Isupov M,Levisson M, Kengen S, van der Oost J, Harmer N, Littlechild J A (2016) Scientific Reports, 6,25542.

Discovery and Characterisation of a Thermostable and Highly Halotolerant GH5 Cellulose from an Icelandic Hot Spring Isolate Zarafeta D, Kissas D, Sayer C, Gudbergsdottir SR, Ladoukakis E, Isupov MN, Chatziioannou A, Peng X, Littlechild JA, Skretas, G. and Kolisis, F.N. (2016) PLoS ONE 11(1):07 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0146454

Enzymes from Extreme Environments and Their Industrial Applications. Littlechild,J.A. Front Bioeng Biotechnol. (2015) 3, 161.