Navigation Links
NIH funds multicenter 'glue grant' to study enzyme function

May 21, 2010 (BRONX, NY) A multi-institutional team of researchers, including scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, has received a prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) "Glue Grant" to develop a strategy for discovering the structure and function of unknown enzymes identified in genome-sequencing projects.

The research could improve understanding of the metabolic and chemical diversity that exists in nature and may result in new drug targets for treatments. It may also lead to new enzymes that could prove useful for catalyzing industrial reactions. Over the next five years, the team will receive $33.9 million, of which Einstein will receive approximately $11 million.

Glue Grants, which are issued by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), a division of the NIH, provide resources to tackle complex problems that are of central importance to biomedical science and beyond the means of any one research group.

In recent years, scientists have sequenced the genomes of thousands of organisms, from bacteria to humans, encompassing more than 10 million genes. But it's not clear what many of these genes do or which proteins they code.

"The specific functions of perhaps half of these genes and the proteins they make are unknown or have been mistakenly characterized," says co-investigator Steven C. Almo, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and of physiology & biophysics at Einstein. "The consortium will be working to close this gap."

NIGMS currently funds a total of five such multicenter projects. This Glue Grant, known as the Enzyme Function Initiative (EFI), will focus on enzymes proteins that catalyze the chemical reactions required for life and enable organisms to live in complex environments and to adapt to a variety of conditions.

"The knowledge gained from our EFI will give us a better sense of the breadth of enzymatic and metabolic activities that exist in nature," says Dr. Almo. "It will also further our understanding of disease and help us identify new targets for drug development."

The leader of the research team is John A. Gerlt, Ph.D., Gutgsell Chair and professor of biochemistry and of chemistry and biophysics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Gerlt and his colleagues have pioneered diverse techniques for more efficiently determining the function of an enzyme by defining its substrate the molecule to which the enzyme docks to start a reaction. Their approaches involve both computational methods to narrow the substrate candidates and direct experimental screening of potential substrates.

For the EFI Glue Grant, Dr. Gerlt has assembled a team of researchers from several disciplines to discover the function of enzymes an effort that begins with determining the structure of an enzyme of interest. The team will then use computers to create a short "hit list" of possible substrates that are most compatible with the structure of this enzyme. Next, scientists with expertise in particular enzyme superfamilies will evaluate the list to pinpoint the substrate, thereby providing direct insight into the enzyme's function. Then, using a range of bacterial model systems, researchers will "knock out" the gene that codes for this enzyme. The manner in which the loss of this enzyme affects the organism will provide further information about the enzyme's function.

Dr. Almo and his colleagues will be responsible for purifying the enzymes and then using x ray crystallography to determine their molecular structure. (X-ray crystallography is a method that reveals the arrangement of atoms within a protein by striking the protein crystal with a beam of x-rays.) Dr. Almo's team includes Ronald D. Seidel, Ph.D., associate in biochemistry and associate director of the Albert Einstein Macromolecular Therapeutics Development Facility.


Contact: Deirdre Branley
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Related biology news :

1. California funds UCI basic research on stem cells
2. DOD funds tiny cave camera and iris recognition technology for military, homeland security
3. Apollo Solar Energy funds new $1.5 million CdTe solar research center at NJIT
4. UF gets almost $15 million in federal funds to build research complex to help older adults
5. Stand Up to Cancer funds high-risk/high-reward cancer research by 13 young scientists
6. NIGMS invests in scientific Grand Opportunities with Recovery Act funds
7. NIEHS awards Recovery Act funds to focus more research on health and safety of nanomaterials
8. NIEHS awards Recovery Act funds to address bisphenol A research gaps
9. Recovery Act funds expand studies of stem cell biology
10. Battling cancer with engineering: NCI funds new $13 million cancer research center led by Cornell
11. Wellcome Trust funds dengue fever research in Leuven
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/10/2015)... 10, 2015  In this report, the ... of product, type, application, disease indication, and ... report are consumables, services, software. The type ... biomarkers, efficacy biomarkers, and validation biomarkers. The ... diagnostics development, drug discovery and development, personalized ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 09, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "Global ... to their offering. --> ... "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" ... Research and Markets ( ) ...
(Date:11/4/2015)... ALBANY, New York , November 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... According to a new market report published by Transparency ... Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2015 - 2022", ... value of US$ 30.3 bn by 2022. The market ... during the forecast period from 2015 to 2022. Rising ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  PDL BioPharma, Inc. (PDL) (NASDAQ: ... the company,s president and chief executive officer, will present at ... week in New York City . The ... December 1, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. EST. ... the website at least 15 minutes prior to the presentation ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 According to two new ... 2005. This is something that many doctors, scientists, and public ... questions remains: with fewer PSA tests being done, will there ... Dr. David Samadi, "Despite the efforts made ... remains the second leading cancer cause of death in men, ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... 23, 2015 China Cord Blood Corporation (NYSE: ... provider of cord blood collection, laboratory testing, hematopoietic stem ... its preliminary unaudited financial results for the second quarter ... 30, 2015. --> --> ... Revenues for the second quarter of fiscal 2016 increased ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... The royalty-free a greement a ... for 112 low- and m iddle-i ... --> The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) today announced ... agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb for daclatasvir, a novel direct-acting antiviral ... HCV virus.  The royalty-free licence will enable generic manufacture of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: