Science 373(6553) ( 2021)
Systematic and extensive investigation of enzymes is needed to understand their extraordinary efficiency and meet current challenges in medicine and engineering. We present HT-MEK (High-Throughput Microfluidic Enzyme Kinetics), a microfluidic platform for high-throughput expression, purification, and characterization of more than 1500 enzyme variants per experiment. For 1036 mutants of the alkaline phosphatase PafA (phosphate-irrepressible alkaline phosphatase of Flavobacterium), we performed more than 670,000 reactions and determined more than 5000 kinetic and physical constants for multiple substrates and inhibitors. We uncovered extensive kinetic partitioning to a misfolded state and isolated catalytic effects, revealing spatially contiguous regions of residues linked to particular aspects of function. Regions included active-site proximal residues but extended to the enzyme surface, providing a map of underlying architecture not possible to derive from existing approaches. HT-MEK has applications that range from understanding molecular mechanisms to medicine, engineering, and design.