Deputy Director of Microbial and Enzyme Discovery
Ken Sale’s expertise is in structural and computational biology, enzymology, enzyme engineering, EPR spectroscopy, statistics and data analytics. His group’s aim is to develop multi-component enzyme mixtures for depolymerizing complex carbohydrates into simple sugars and depolymerizing lignin to defined intermediates. This work includes structural and functional characterization of enzymes discovered in microbes and microbial communities and engineering enzymes enhanced performance in industrially relevant biorefining environments such as the presence of ionic liquids and extremes of temperature and pH.
- High-throughput screening of cellulolytic enzymes across a matrix of conditions (T, pH, ionic liquid) to identify enzymes for mixture optimization and to understand the protein features that impart ionic liquid tolerance
- Understanding the enzymes involved in enzymatic depolymerization and metabolism of lignin and combining these enzymes to generate defined lignin fragments
- Developing novel methods for recovery and recycle of enzymes
- Understanding the changes in enzyme kinetics resulting from the presence of an ionic liquid
- Engineering enzymes for improved IL tolerance
- Kohler, A; Mills, M; Adams, P; Simmons, B; and K. Sale. 2017. Structure of aryl O-demethylase offers molecular insight into a catalytic tyrosine-dependent mechanism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 114 (16) E3205-E3214.
- Zeng, J; Mills, M; Simmons, B; Kent, M; and K Sale. 2017. “Understanding factors controlling depolymerization and polymerization in catalytic degradation of β-ether linked model lignin compounds by versatile peroxidase.” Green Chemistry. 19, 2145-2154. (doi: 10.1039/C6GC03379B)
- Mills, MJL; Sale, KL; Simmons, BA; and PLA Popelier. 2017. “Rhorix: An interface between quantum chemical topology and the 3D graphics program blender.” Journal of Computational Chemistry. 5;38(29):2538-2552. (doi: 10.1002/jcc.25054)
- McAndrew, R; Sathitsuksanoh, N; Mbughuni, M; Heins, R; Pererira, J; George, A; Sale, K; Fox, B; Simmons, B; and P Adams. 2016. “Structure and mechanism of NOV1, a resveratrol-cleaving dioxygenase.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 113 (50) 14324-14329.
- Liszka, M; Kang, A; Murthy Konda, N.S.C.N; Tran, K; Gladden, J; Singh, S; Keasling, J; Scown, C; Soon Lee, T; Simmons, B; and K Sale. 2016. “Switchable ionic liquids based on di-carboxylic acids for one-pot conversion of biomass to an advanced biofuel.”, Green Chemistry.18, 4012-4021. (doi:10.1039/C6GC00657D)
- Pereira, J; Heins, R; Gall, D; McAndrew, R; Deng, K; Holland, K; Donohue, T; Noguera, D; Simmons, B; Sale, K; Ralph, J; and P Adams. 2016. “Structural and Biochemical Characterization of the Early and Late Enzymes in the Lignin β-Aryl Ether Cleavage Pathway from Sphingobium sp. SYK-6.”, The Journal of Biological Chemistry. (doi: 10.1074/jbc.M115.700427)
- Helmich, K; Pereria, J; Gall, D; Heins, R; McAndrew, R; Bingman, C; Deng, K; Holland, K; Noguera, D; Simmons, B; Sale, K; Ralph, J; Donohue, T; Adams, P; and G Philips. 2016. “Structural Basis of Stereospecificity in the Bacterial Enzymatic Cleavage of β-Aryl Ether Bonds in Lignin.”, The Journal of Biological Chemistry. (doi: 10.1074/jbc.M115.694307)
- Kent, M; Avina, I; Rader, N; Busse, M; George, A; Sathisuksanoh, N; Baidoo, E; Timlin, J; Giron, N; Celina, M; Martin, L; Polsky, R; Chavez, V; Huber, D; Keasling, J; Singh, S; Simmons, B; and K Sale. 2015. “Assay for lignin breakdown based on lignin films: insights into the Fenton reaction with insoluble lignin.” Green Chemistry. (doi: 10.1039/C5GC01083G)
- Deng, K; Guenther, J; Gao, J; Bowen, B; Tran, Huu; Reyes-Ortiz, V; Cheng, X; Sathitsuksanoh, N; Heins, R; Takasuka, T; Bergeman, L; Geertz-Hansen, H; Deutsch, S; Loque, D; Sale, K; Simmons, B; Adams, P; Singh, A; Fox, B; and T Northen. “Development of a High Throughput Platform for Screening Glycoside Hydrolases Based on Oxime-NIMS.” Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology.
- Gladden, J; Park, J; Bergmann, J; Reyes-Ortiz, V; D’haeseleer, P; Quirino, B; Sale, K; Simmons, B; and S Singer. 2014. “Discovery and characterization of ionic liquid-tolerant thermophilic cellulases from a switchgrass-adapted microbial community" Biotechnology for Biofuels. 7:15.
- Chen, Z; Pereira, J; Liu, H; Tran, H; Hsu, N; Dibble, D; Singh, S; Adams, P; Sapra, R; Hadi, M; Simmons, B; and K Sale. 2013. “Improved Activity of a Thermophilic Cellulase, Cel5A, from Thermotoga maritima on Ionic Liquid Pretreated Switchgrass." PLoS One. McAndrew, RP;
- Park, JI; Heins, RA; Reindl, W; Friedland, GD; D’haeseleer, P; Northen, T; Sale, K; Simmons, B; and PD Adams. 2013. “From Soil to Structure, a Novel Dimeric ?-Glucosidase Belonging to Glycoside Hydrolase Family 3 Isolated from Compost Using Metagenomic Analysis.” Journal of Biological Chemistry. 288(21):14985-92. (doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.458356) Chen, Z; Friedland, GD; Pereira, JH; Reveco, SA; Chan, R; Park, JI; Thelen, MP; Adams, PD; Arkin, AP; Keaslin, JD; Blanch, HW; Simmons, BA; Sale, KL; Chivian, D; and SR Chhabra. 2012. “Tracing determinants of dual substrate specificity in glycoside hydrolase family 5.” Journal of Biological Chemistry. 287(30):25335-43. (doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.362640) Park, JI; Steen, EJ; Burd, H; Evans, SS; Redding-Johnson, AM; Batth, T; Benke, PI; D’haeseleer, P; Sun, N; Sale, KL; Keaslin, JD; Lee, TS; Petzold, CJ; Mukhopadhyay, A; Singer, SW; Simmons, BA; and JM Gladden. 2012. “A Thermophilic Ionic Liquid-Tolerant Cellulase Cocktail for the Production of Cellulosic Biofuels.” PLoS ONE. 7(5):e37010. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0037010)
- Zhang, T; Datta, S; Eichler, J; Ivanova, N; Axen, S; Kerfeld, C; Chen, F; Kyrpides, N; Hugenholtz, P; Cheng, JF; Sale, K; Simmons, B; and E Rubin. 2012. “Identification of a haloalkaliphilic and thermostable cellulase with improved ionic liquid tolerance.” Green Chemistry. 13, 2083-2090. (doi: 10.1039/C1GC15193B)
- Liu, H; Pereira, J; Adams, P; Sapra, R; Simmons, B; and K Sale. 2010. “Molecular simulations provide new insights into the role of the accessory immunoglobulin-like domain of Cel9A.” FEBS Letters.