Navigation Links
Living with salt

Over the years, a number of Weizmann Institute scientists have addressed the question of how molecules essential to life, such as proteins, have adapted to function in extreme environments. The proteins they investigated were isolated from halophilic (salt-loving) microorganisms from the Dead Sea. After determining the 3-D structures for several halophilic proteins, researchers were able to explain how these proteins not only cope with high salinities, but are actually "addicted" to them. However, the alga Dunaliella salina is an organism of a different streak: it is able to grow in any salinity, from the extremes of the Dead Sea to nearly fresh water. The uniquely salt-tolerant Dunaliella, which is commercially grown as a source of natural beta carotene, has been investigated at the Weizmann Institute for over 30 years. Yet, the secrets of its exceptionally successful adaptation to salt remained unresolved.

In a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA (PNAS), Institute scientists Prof. Ada Zamir and Dr. Lakshmanane Premkumar of the Institute's Biological Chemistry Department and Prof. Joel Sussman and Dr. Harry Greenblatt of the Structural Biology Department revealed the structural basis of a remarkably salt-tolerant Dunaliella enzyme, a carbonic anhydrase, which may hold the key. Comparisons with known carbon anhydrases from animal sources showed that the Dunaliella enzyme shares a basic plan with its distant relatives, but with a few obvious differences. The most striking of these is in the electrical charges on the proteins' surfaces: Charges on the salt-tolerant enzyme are uniformly negative (though not as intensely negative as those in halophilic proteins), while the surfaces of carbonic anhydrases that don't tolerate salt sport a negative/positive/ neutral mix. This and other unique structural features may enable the algal carbonic anhydrase to be active in the presence of salt, though not dependent on it. In a surprise twist, the researchers discovered that one other known carbonic anhydrase - found in mouse kidney - sported a similar, salt-tolerant construction. Pondering why a structure conferring salt tolerance should evolve once in a Dead Sea organism and once in a mouse has led the researchers to some new insights into kidney physiology. The researchers hope that the knowledge gleaned from their study of a tiny alga might provide the basis for designing new drugs that could target enzymes based on their salt tolerance.

Prof. Joel Sussman's research is funded by the Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly; the Joseph and Ceil Mazer Center for Structural Biology; the Charles A. Dana Foundation; the Divadol Foundation; the Jean and Jula Goldwurm Memorial Foundation; the late Sally Schnitzer, New York, NY; the Kalman and Ida Wolens Foundation; and the Wolfson Family Charitable Trust. Prof. Joel Sussman is the incumbent of the Morton and Gladys Pickman Chair in Structural Biology.


'"/>

Source:American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science


Related biology news :

1. World-first Living Donor Islet Cell Transplant A Success; Procedure Offers Promise For Diabetics
2. Living anti-HIV gel shows early promise
3. Living taste cells produced outside the body
4. Living laboratory found on shoreline statues
5. Study: Living coral reefs provide better protection from tsunami waves
6. Living view in animals shows how cells decide to make proteins
7. Living with water scarcity -- world must act now
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:11/12/2019)... ... November 12, 2019 , ... G5, the ... digital advertising performance up to 25% and reduces cost-per-click by as much as ... advanced multi-touch attribution (MTA) to predict best advertising outcomes and automatically allocate daily ...
(Date:11/9/2019)... , ... November 08, 2019 , ... SiteSeer Technologies, creator ... as a new client and user of SiteSeer. The boutique real estate developer ... the U.S. will use SiteSeer to supplement its own analysis of markets. , ...
(Date:11/6/2019)... ... November 06, 2019 , ... ... new podcast to provide information to patients about a poorly disclosed deficiency in ... given without knowing the dose of the treating stem cells. This problem ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/6/2019)... ... November 06, 2019 , ... ... and dialogue, today announces its East/West CEO conference to be held ... , Kicking off the week of the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference ...
(Date:11/2/2019)... , ... October 31, 2019 , ... ... always used to communicating with each other: study managers, principal investigators, supply chain ... if a party is not informed of the latest data, potentially leading to ...
(Date:10/30/2019)... , ... October 30, 2019 , ... ... to showcase the many roles innovation and technology play in educating the next ... Innovation, featured hands-on learning opportunities and presentations by WesternU administrators and representatives of ...
(Date:10/26/2019)... ... October 24, 2019 , ... Sparks Marketing ... Group (BMMG), a boutique healthcare-specific marketing firm, to strengthen the agency’s growing ... Strategy Division. , Healthcare clients in pharma, bio-therapeutics, medical device and healthcare technologies ...
Breaking Biology Technology: