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:3/30/2017)... , March 30, 2017 Trends, opportunities and ... and behavioral), by technology (fingerprint, AFIS, iris recognition, facial ... and others), by end use industry (government and law ... financial and banking, and others), and by region ( ... , Asia Pacific , and the ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... India , March 28, 2017 ... IP, Biometrics), Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software ... Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published ... Billion in 2016 and is projected to reach USD ... between 2017 and 2022. The base year considered for ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... , March 24, 2017 The Controller General ... Controller Mr. Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR ... Continue Reading ... ... picture) and Deputy Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2017)... Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2017 , ... ... matrix of polymeric molecules, can cause diverse pathologies ranging from food poisoning and catheter ... impact of biofilms is in the tens of billions of dollars per year, there ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... Stratevi, a boutique firm that partners with healthcare ... has opened an office in downtown Boston at 745 Atlantic Ave. , “We ... to generate evidence on the value they provide, not just to patients, but also ...
(Date:5/21/2017)... ... May 19, 2017 , ... ... educational conference of the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) and the College of ... Houston. The conference reinforces AAB’s commitment to excellence in clinical laboratory services and ...
(Date:5/19/2017)... ... May 19, 2017 , ... ... Academic researchers with technologies ripe for commercialization, and who are affiliated with ... are encouraged to submit proposals. QED, now in its tenth round, is the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: