Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Enzymes: what they are and why they are so important

01.08.2003


Introduction - Enzymology in 2003



Why the 90th anniversary of v = Vmax x [S] / (Km + [S]) is as important as the 50th anniversary of the double-helical structure of DNA. Enzymology is essential, to find out how nucleic acids fulfil their biological functions. Moreover, genome analysis will always, at some stage in the process, have to advance from sequence gazing to enzymology, since the objective of the analysis must be to identify the reactions mediated by the products of each open reading frame. "Enzymology is thus central to nucleic acid and genomic biochemistry," says author Stephen Halford.

Contact: Stephen Halford, Department of Biochemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TD; tel: +44 (0)117-928-7429; e-mail: s.halford@bristol.ac.uk


Ancient enzymology?

How did life start to reproduce? In this article David Lilley looks at the mysteries of the RNA world, the time before DNA. "There is a significant chicken-and-egg problem that bedevils imagining how life could have developed on the planet from some kind of primeval soup," says the author. "All contemporary life uses nucleic acids as the genetic repository and proteins as the chemical workhorse." Taking the remarkable discovery some 20 years ago that RNA could behave like an enzyme he demonstrates how it could have happened, and explains why the connection between ribozymes and ribosomes is far more than typographical.

Contact: David M. J. Lilley, Cancer Research UK Nucleic Acid Structure Research Group, Department of Biochemistry, MSI/WTB Complex, The University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 5EH; tel.: +44 (0)1382-344243; e-mail: d.m.j.lilley@dundee.ac.uk

Directed evolution

One of the ultimate goals of protein engineers has been to acquire the knowledge to design and build proteins for any given function - for example to produce "tailor-made" enzymes for any given reaction. This has usually been done by modifying an existing protein with a similar function. Although this has resulted in some notable successes, more often it has highlighted our relatively poor understanding of the intricacies of enzyme recognition and catalysis. Here, authors Gavin Williams and Alan Berry describe how they developed an alternative: directed evolution.

Contact: Alan Berry, School of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT; tel.: +44 (0)113 343 3158; e-mail: A.Berry@leeds.ac.uk

Integral Membrane Enzymes

The design of ’’real’’ integral membrane enzymes must be difficult, because nature uses enzymes of this type only when it really has to. But difficult is not the same as impossible. Anthony Lee looks at the problems and the solutions.

Contact: Anthony Lee, Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO16 7PX; tel.: +44 (0)23 8059 4331; e-mail: agl@soton.ac.uk

Power versus control

More than a third of all enzymes catalyse the oxidation or reduction of a substrate yet the often complex, redox chemistry involved is made possible by surprisingly few cofactors. Stephen Chapman, Simon Daff and Tobias W. B. Ost look at the reasons why.

Contact: Stephen Chapman, School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JJ; tel.: +44 (0)131 650 4760; e-mail: S.K.Chapman@ed.ac.uk

Single molecule enzymology

We can now measure enzyme activity at the level of a single enzyme molecule. This is technically impressive, but what can it really tell us? Here, Clive R. Bagshaw reviews the basic principles to show that new forms of heterogeneity in activity may be revealed and evidence gained for rare states that would otherwise be swamped in bulk assays.

Contact: Clive Bagshaw, Department of Biochemistry, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH; tel.: +44 (0)116 252 3454; e-mail: crb5@le.ac.uk

Product focus: Automated image analysis

Paul Ellwood from Syngene looks at how automated image analysis can improve accuracy and increase productivity in drug discovery.

Contact: Paul Ellwood, Beacon House, Nuffield Road, Cambridge, CB4 1TF; tel: +44 (0) 1223-727123; e-mail: paul.ellwood@syngene.com

Mark Burgess | alfa
Further information:
http://www.biochemist.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>