Navigation Links
Key to burning fat faster discovered
Date:8/22/2012

Enzymes involved in breaking down fat can now be manipulated to work three times harder by turning on a molecular switch recently observed by chemists at the University of Copenhagen. Being able to control this chemical on/off button could have massive implications for curing diseases related to obesity including diabetes, cardio vascular disease, stroke and even skin problems like acne. But the implications may be wider.

The results suggest that the switch may be a common characteristic of many more enzymes. Since enzymes are miniscule worker-molecules that control a vast variety of functions in cells, if the switches are standard, it may well be one of the most important discoveries in enzymology.

"If many enzymes turn out to be switched on in the same way as the ones we've studied, this opens a door to understanding- and maybe curing, a wide range of diseases", says professor Dimitrios Stamou.

Stamou heads a multidisciplinary team of scientists at the Nanoscience Center and Department of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen who published their discovery in the prominent scientific journal "Journal of the American Chemical Society".

Switch contradicts previous understanding

The discovery of the enzymatic ignition key contradicts previous ideas of how cells control the function of enzymes such as the fat eating lipase used in the current study.

Researchers used to think that these enzymes work continuously at varying levels of efficiency. But in fact they are quite lazy. Very much like construction workers they work at a fixed efficiency for a given amount of time (working hours), and then they rest. And that's good news for enzyme designers.

Tripping their newfound switch resulted in tripling the working hours of lipase enzymes, from 15 percent of the time to 45 percent by the Copenhagen team

Function follows form

In enzymes, function is decided by the shape of the molecule. So making them more efficient would have required a major reconstruction. In some cases so difficult that it is on the order of transforming a handsaw into a chainsaw, says the chemist, Assistant Professor Nikos Hatzakis, who was deeply involved in the scrutiny of the enzymes.

"Changing the fundamental shape of a tool is always difficult. Whether it's saw or an enzyme. But working longer hours with the same tool is infinitely easier. What we've achieved, is to make enzymes work longer hours", explains Hatzakis.

Scrutiny on the Nanoscale

Observing that enzymes even have an on-off switch may sound easy, but first the Bio Nano- team had to devise a way to study individual enzyme molecules. These are so small, that there are trillions in just a drop of water. So measuring the work of only one enzyme could be compared to looking down from the moon to detect each time a carpenter in a building in Copenhagen swings his hammer.

Light emitting fat

To perform their studies the researchers chose a fat degrading lipase enzyme model system in collaboration with Danish industrial enzyme producer Novozymes.

They used "fat" that would emit light each time the enzyme took a bite. This way they could monitor each and every catalytic cycle or single movement of work. To ensure realism the enzymes were placed on an artificial cell wall. An "in vivo like membrane system", says Stamou.

"Natural enzymes live in cells. Looking at them in a non native environment, would tell us as much as looking at a carpenter working in outer space wearing a space suit would tell us about builders", explains Dimitrios Stamou and concludes:

"Now that we have understood how to switch enzymes on and off we could use this knowledge in the future both for curing diseases but also to design novel enzymes for industrial applications".


'/>"/>
Contact: Jes Andersen
jean@science.ku.dk
45-30-50-65-82
University of Copenhagen
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Hyenas that think outside the box solve problems faster
2. Searching genomic data faster
3. Palladium-gold nanoparticles clean TCE a billion times faster than iron filings
4. Exome sequencing gives cheaper, faster diagnosis in heterogeneous disease
5. Faster, cheaper gas and liquid separation using custom designed and built mesoscopic structures
6. What does a tree growing faster than its neighbor look like from outer space?
7. Athletic frogs have faster-changing genomes
8. Tiny electrical sensors could signal faster MRSA diagnosis
9. From scourge to saint: E. coli bacteria becomes a factory - to make cheaper, faster pharmaceuticals
10. Oceans acidifying faster today than in past 300 million years
11. 2 new owls discovered in the Philippines
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Key to burning fat faster discovered
(Date:3/20/2017)... Pa. , March 20, 2017 PMD ... 2.0 personal spirometer and Wellness Management System (WMS), a ... Founded in 2010, PMD Healthcare is a Medical ... with a mission dedicated to creating innovative solutions that ... life. With that intent focus, PMD developed the first ...
(Date:3/7/2017)... -- Brandwatch , the leading social intelligence company, today announces ... to uncover insights to support its reporting, help direct future campaigns, ... leading youth charity will be using Brandwatch Analytics social listening and ... understanding of the topics and issues that are a priority for ... "Until ...
(Date:3/2/2017)... LONDON , March 2, 2017 Who ... infringement lawsuits? Download the full report: https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/4313699/ ... ON THE FINGERPRINT SENSOR FIELD? Fingerprint sensors using ... smartphones. The fingerprint sensor vendor Idex forecasts an increase ... in mobile devices and of the fingerprint sensor market ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... YORK , March 24, 2017 ... ended the trading session at 5,817.69, down 0.07%; the ... at 20,656.58; and the S&P 500 closed at 2,345.96, ... as 4 sectors closed in green, 4 sectors finished ... day. This Friday, Stock-Callers.com has initiated reports coverage on ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... San Diego, Calif. (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2017 , ... Lajollacooks4u is proud to ... in 2008, it has hosted corporate cooking challenges for companies around the world, such as ... , Part of the reason for its increasing popularity is due to its new ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 2017  GlobeImmune, Inc. today announced it has entered ... 12,835,490 shares of its common stock to NantCell, Inc., ... with the sale of its common stock, NantCell has ... to GlobeImmune 200,000 shares, an estimated $2.0 million in ... are pleased to enter into this strategic agreement with ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 23, 2017 NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage  ... Cancer remains ... strain on health care systems, in terms of costs and ... too does the development of innovative and efficient therapies that ... the many types of cancer treatments, a growing number of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: