Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genome Mining’ Method Streamlines Discovery from Nature

12.10.2011
A newly developed method for microscopically extracting, or "mining," information from genomes could represent a significant boost in the search for new therapeutic drugs and improve science's understanding of basic functions such as how cells communicate with one another.

Analyzing marine and terrestrial samples obtained from Alaska to San Diego's La Jolla Cove, a research technique jointly created by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at UC San Diego and their colleagues taps powerful laboratory instruments to trace promising chemical compounds back to their genomic roots. The method is described in the October 9 online publication of the journal Nature Chemical Biology.

Graduate student Roland Kersten developed a technique that employs mass spectrometry, a mass analyzing tool that deciphers the size and makeup of molecules, to reveal core structural details of genomes.

algae fuel

"With only very small amounts of crude sample material, the mass spectrometer is able to fragment the unknown peptide into individual amino acid building blocks, so we can then map those to the genome level," said Kersten, who works jointly in Pieter Dorrestein's laboratory at the School of Pharmacy and Brad Moore's lab at the Scripps Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine. "That provides us information about how to reassemble the molecule."

Knowing such minutiae through this genomic "mining" approach gives scientists a way to connect the natural chemicals produced by organisms back to the enzymes that construct them. These "biosynthetic pathways" are considered prized information in the search for new pharmaceuticals to treat diseases.

Using the new method, the scientists have already discovered two new classes of peptides, compounds made of amino acids that serve in functions ranging from communication to protection.

"This represents a paradigm shift in the way that natural products are discovered and characterized, and it's fundamentally different than what's been practiced for the past decades in this field," said Moore, a professor at Scripps and the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at UC San Diego. "This has the capability of really changing the way natural products, or simply chemicals, are discovered in nature."

Dorrestein, Moore and Kersten are working on ways to automate the process to more quickly analyze biological samples. They believe the new technique will streamline the discovery of promising natural products.

algae fuel

"We're trying to bring up the speed of discovery in chemistry," said Moore. "There's a huge amount of information that's out there and we are only scratching the surface-we'd like to dig a little deeper."

"My UC San Diego colleague Bill Gerwick often states that natural products are a part of central dogma following DNA, RNA and proteins" said Dorrestein. "I agree with Bill, natural products and related chemistries control biology yet these molecules are difficult to characterize. The tools for characterizing the molecules that control biology have not kept pace with modern science. The thought process introduced in this manuscript provides the foundation for finally bringing the fourth branch of central dogma into the realm of modern life sciences."

In addition to Kersten, Moore and Dorrestein, coauthors of the paper include Yu-Liang Yang and Yuquan Xu of the Skaggs School; Peter Cimermancic and Michael Fischbach of UC San Francisco; and Sang-Jip Nam and William Fenical of Scripps Oceanography.

The National Institutes of Health and the Beckman Foundation provided financial support for the research.

Mario Aguilera | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

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...

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

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>