In the NOVENIA project, we will implement an innovative integrated approach to isolate, characterize, and develop novel proteolytic enzymes. In addition, we will screen the ability of these enzymes to produce bioactive peptides.
The identification of novel enzymes are based on i) analyses of unexplored environments, rich in proteolytic enzymes (digestive fluid from snake, spider, and carnivore plants), and ii) analyses of microbiological environments where proteolytic enzymes are adapted to environmental conditions of interest to the food and biotech industry (high pH, high pressure, and low temperature). We will employ complementing strategies including functional screening, proteomics, transcriptomics, and metagenomics. Proteolytic enzyme-coding genes will be cloned as full-length sequences, expressed and purified. The properties of these enzymes will be studied in detail for substrate preferences, optimal pH and temperature conditions, and inhibitor profiles.
Some peptides, released by proteolytic enzymes, e.g. from milk protein, have a positive effect on several aspects of human health, such as regulation of blood pressure or mediation of resistance to pathogenic bacteria. We will also test the ability of the identified enzymes to produce bioactive peptides from milk and fish proteins with focus on hypotensitive, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and immune-modulating bioactivities.