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:2/1/2016)... 2016  Today, the first day of American Heart ... develop a first of its kind workplace health solution ... In the first application of Watson ... ), and Welltok will create a new offering that ... analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health optimization platform. The effort ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... SEATTLE , Jan. 25, 2016  Glencoe Software, ... biotech, pharma and publication industries, will provide the data ... Phenotypic Screening Centre (NPSC). ... Phenotypic analysis ... even whole organisms, allowing comparisons between states such as ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... Jan. 20, 2016   MedNet Solutions , an ... spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to announce the ... achievements are the result of the company,s laser focus ... eClinical , it,s comprehensive, easy-to-use and highly affordable ... --> Key MedNet growth achievements in 2015 include: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016  Bioethics International, a not-for-profit organization focused on the ... and made accessible to patients around the world, today announced ... the publication of the Good Pharma Scorecard an ... featured as one of BMJ Open ,s ,Most Popular ... are most frequently read. Ed Sucksmith , assistant ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Dovetail Genomics™ LLC ... its beta program for a planned metagenomic genome assembly ... the company,s metagenomic genome assembly method in a talk ... Genome Biology & Technology conference in Orlando, ... these highly complex datasets is difficult. Using its proprietary ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... 11, 2016 , ... Global Stem Cells Group, ... Global Stem Cells Network (GSCN) to distribute exosome injection and other biological products ... Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Argentina, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Feb. 10, 2016  The Maryland House of Delegates ... announced that University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean ... University of Maryland Medical System President and CEO ... Medallion," the highest honor given to the public by ... Dean Reece and Mr. Chrencik for their ...
Breaking Biology Technology: