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Chemists' work with small peptide chains may revolutionize study of enzymes and diseases
Date:4/4/2014

ing suggests that amyloids, whose buildup leads to Alzheimer's in the brain, may also have served as the blueprint for larger, modern-day enzymes."

That's good news for researchers such as Korendovych, who thinks this finding may lead to the development of a new class of synthetic peptide-based catalysts. "The amyloid structures we've created may have a more complex biochemistry than we've realized," he says.

There are 20 naturally occurring amino acids, all of which serve as the building blocks of proteins and assist with metabolism.

An enzyme is a type of protein that is composed of at least 100 amino acids and speeds up reactions in a cell.

Korendovych says that, despite an astronomically large number of possible enzymes (each with a different amino acid sequence and three-dimensional shape), only a small number of them actually work.

"Each enzyme has to be an exact fit for its respective substrate," he says, referring to the molecule with which an enzyme reacts. "Even after millions of years, nature is still testing all the possible combinations of enzymes to determine which ones can catalyze metabolic reactions. Our results make an argument for the design of self-assembling nanostructured catalysts."


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Contact: Rob Enslin
rmenslin@syr.edu
315-443-3403
Syracuse University
Source:Eurekalert  

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