Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Change for the better

24.09.2009
Scientists develop a new method for improving the functional characteristics of enzymes

An international team of scientists from the Czech Republic, Germany and Japan have developed a new method for improving the properties of enzymes.

The method has potential for wide application in the chemical, medicinal and food industries. The research has been published in the prestigious scientific magazine Nature Chemical Biology (Martina Pavlova Martin Klvana, Zbynek Prokop, Radka Chaloupkova, Pavel Banas, Michal Otyepka, Rebecca C Wade, Masataka Tsuda, Yuji Nagata & Jiri Damborsky Redesigning dehalogenase access tunnels as a strategy for degrading an anthropogenic substrate. Nature Chemical Biology 2009;5(10):727-33).

See: http://www.nature.com/nchembio/journal/v5/n10/abs/nchembio.205.html

The modified enzymes can be used, for example, for disposal of highly harmful chemical substances which enter into the environment as a result of human activity and can have a very negative influence on human and animal health. Nature cannot degrade many of these chemicals but, in this work, the scientists have developed an approach that can be applied to remove them efficiently from the environment.

The principle of the discovery is based on genetic manipulation of the enzyme which is starting and accelerating the chemical reaction. "Now we can use genetic modifications for changing the properties of the enzymes so they can faster and more easily dispose of harmful substances in the environment," says Jiri Damborsky, leader of the Protein Engineering Group at the Institute of Experimental Biology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University.

Up to now, the scientists had focused during the modification of an enzyme's properties on the site in its structure where the chemical reaction happens, the active site. The new method is based on the modification of so-called access tunnels that connect the active site with the surface of the enzyme. "Specialized computational techniques guided the experimental work to engineer these tunnels to alter their accessibility to the degraded substances," notes Rebecca Wade, leader of the Molecular and Cellular Modeling Group at EML Research in Heidelberg.

The scientists applied the approach by modifying an enzyme to degrade the highly toxic substance, trichloropropane (TCP). This colourless liquid is a secondary product of chemical production. It can reside in the soil and groundwater for over 100 years, can contaminate drinking water and is a carcinogen. Using the new approach, the protein engineers developed a modified enzyme capable of degrading this substance 32 times faster than the original enzyme.

But the method has much wider scope for application than just in the fight against harmful substances and in environmental protection. The targeted modification of the tunnels in enzymes can be utilized in different application areas, including biomedicine, and the chemical and food industries.

Press Contact:
Peter Saueressig
Public Information Officer, EML Research
Phone: +49-6221-533245
Email: Peter.Saueressig@eml-r.villa-bosch.de
Tereza Fojtova
Masaryk University spokeswoman
Phone: +420 724517335
Email: fojtova@rect.muni.cz
Scientific contacts:
Jiri Damborsky, leader of the Protein Engineering Group at the Institute of Experimental Biology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University Phone+420 549493467, mail: jiri@chemi.muni.cz

Rebecca Wade, leader of the Molecular and Cellular Modeling Group, EML Research, Heidelberg. Tel +49 6221 533 247; email: Rebecca.wade@eml-r.villa-bosch.de

How many people participated in the research and how long did it last?
Ten members of four scientific teams participated - biochemists from the Institute of Experimental Biology, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic; physical chemists from Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic biophysicists from EML Research, Heidelberg, Germany and molecular biologists from Sendai University, Japan. Three doctoral students also participated in the research. The project started in 2003 and lasted 6 years.
What is the use of the new method?
The new method makes it possible to change enzyme properties by targeting modifications to tunnels that connect the enzyme's catalytic site with the enzyme's surface. The sites for modifications are selected with the aid of computational methods using specialized software developed by participants in this research. The method can be used for improving the properties of enzymes used in biomedicine, environmental protection, and the chemical and food industries.
Who is financing the research?
The research was financed by the Czech Ministry of Education, the Youth and Sports and Czech Science Foundation, the Klaus Tschira Foundation, Germany, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, Japan and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Japan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,

The Protein Engineering Group at Masaryk University (loschmidt.chemi.muni.cz/peg/) conducts research projects dedicated to fundamental principles of enzymatic catalysis and to development of enzymes for environmental, chemical and biomedical applications. The group has particularly extensive experience in the engineering of enzymes to degrade halogenated compounds.

Masaryk University (www.muni.cz), located in Brno, is the second-largest public university in the Czech Republic and the leading higher education institution in Moravia. At present it comprises nine faculties with more than 200 departments, institutes and clinics. Masaryk University has 41052 students enrolled in regular degree programmes. Recognized as one of the most important teaching and research institutions in the Czech Republic and a highly-regarded Central European university, it has been marked by a strong democratic spirit ever since its establishment in 1919.

The Molecular and Cellular Modeling Group at EML Research (www.eml-research.de/mcm) conducts research on the development and application of computer-aided methods to predict and simulate biomolecular interactions.

EML Research gGmbH (www.eml-research.de) is a non-profit institute conducting research in Information Technology and its applications. There is a strong focus on bioinformatics and computational biology. Research is carried out in close collaboration with universities and other research institutes. EML Research projects are supported by the Klaus Tschira Foundation (KTS) (http://www.klaus-tschira-stiftung.de), as well as by the European Union, the German Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF) and by the German Research Foundation (DFG). EML Research is a partner in the first German Center for Modeling and Simulation in the Biosciences (BIOMS, www.bioms.de). KTS and EML Research are housed in the Villa Bosch in Heidelberg, the former residence of Nobel Prize laureate Carl Bosch (1874 - 1940).

Dr. Peter Saueressig | idw
Further information:
http://www.klaus-tschira-stiftung.de
http://www.eml-r.org/english/press/form/onerror.php?we_objectID=634&pid=563
http://www.nature.com/nchembio/journal/v5/n10/abs/nchembio.205.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>