Navigation Links
Promiscuous enzymes may be recruited to aid industry, medical fields
Date:3/3/2013

COLLEGE STATION Enzymes in cells normally perform only one job, but a new study by a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist might figure out how to recruit enzymes for other jobs to benefit medical fields and industry.

"We know that enzymes usually have one biological function in a cell, but many are capable of doing something quite different, when given substrate molecules those at the beginning of a chemical reaction that they don't normally encounter," said Dr. Margy Glasner, AgriLife Research biochemist in College Station.

Glasner has received more than $767,000 in a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation to study how to make use of the so-called promiscuous enzymes those that have these hidden abilities in addition to their normal function.

"If mutations improve these hidden abilities, enzymes can evolve new functions that are useful to the organism," Glasner said. "In some cases, mutations cannot improve the promiscuous activity because the enzyme is an evolutionary deadend."

The key to the research will be understanding how and why certain enzymes are capable of functioning in new jobs so their ability could be applied to help people and the environment.

Her team is trying to determine why one enzyme can evolve a new function but another, related protein cannot. An enzyme is a protein that speeds up the rate of a chemical reaction.

Her work is part of the basic science which ultimately could have such applications as removing toxins from the environment, Glasner said.

"Bacteria are good at finding ways to degrade even pesticides invented in the 1950s. But we may be overtaxing natural evolutionary processes, given the quantity of such chemicals still in the environment," she said. "If we understood the mechanism of evolution better, we might be able to design enzymes that can tackle this problem. And because enzymes can work in water and are biodegradable, they could replace toxic chemicals in industrial processes."

The idea of engineered proteins are not new, she noted. Many laundry detergents already contain proteins that have been made to work better in soap and in hot or cold water. What is different with this work is that the researchers hope to learn more about the "structural and catalytic properties that were required for the evolution of a new function" in enzymes so they can be used to develop new ways to make enzymes carry out new activities, Glasner noted.

She likened current protein engineering technology to retraining a human workforce. In one factory, the people know how to make metal circles and it would not be hard to adapt to making squares.

But in another factory, if the people who are making metal circles have to start making plastic toys, "you need different machinery and training for the employees," Glasner explained. "That is similar to what we hope to do by discovering how to design enzymes that have the right equipment to take on new roles."

The project, part of the science foundation's Faculty Early Career Development Program, will continue through 2018.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kathleen Phillips
ka-phillips@tamu.edu
979-845-2872
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Promiscuous squid fatigued after mating
2. ORNL process improves catalytic rate of enzymes by 3,000 percent
3. Is it a rock, or is it Jell-O? Defining the architecture of rhomboid enzymes
4. Ancient enzymes function like nanopistons to unwind RNA
5. New inhibitors of elusive enzymes promise to be valuable scientific tools
6. Researchers use blood testing to predict level of enzymes that facilitate disease progression
7. Nutrient-sensing enzymes key to starvation response and survival in newborn mammals
8. Powerful enzymes create ethanol from agricultural harvest waste
9. Alnylam and UMass Medical School announce Tuschl I patent upheld in European opposition proceedings
10. Miniature pressure sensors for medical touch
11. Research!America says house funding levels for FY13 could undermine medical progress
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/13/2017)... UBM,s Advanced Design and Manufacturing event in ... and evolving technology through its 3D Printing and Smart ... the expo portion of the event and feature a ... on trending topics within 3D printing and smart manufacturing. ... will take place June 13-15, 2017 at the Jacob K. ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 No two people are ... the New York University Tandon School of Engineering ... found that partial similarities between prints are common ... mobile phones and other electronic devices can be ... vulnerability lies in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017 Today HYPR ... that the server component of the HYPR platform is ... providing the end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric authentication ... HYPR has already secured over 15 million users across ... manufacturers of connected home product suites and physical access ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... Executives ... the world’s most progressive pharma and biotech organizations to do more clinical trials ... and biotech events in Q4. , DrugDev will demonstrate DrugDev Spark™, the world’s ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... DIEGO, CALIF. (PRWEB) , ... September 21, 2017 , ... ... earlier this month. The organization, a worldwide society of professional women with high ... venue to hold its annual dinner. , Twelve members began with an ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... September 20, 2017 , ... ... appointed Vishwas Paralkar to the role of chief scientific officer. In this role, ... report to Cybrexa’s president and CEO, Per Hellsund. , “I was impressed with ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... September 20, 2017 , ... Proscia Inc. ... , a provider of whole slide imaging solutions, are hosting a pre-conference workshop ... entitled “Successfully Deploying a Best-in-Class Strategy for Digital Pathology,” will feature Proscia CEO, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: