Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researcher uses supercomputer to model a SARS viral enzyme

17.08.2004


A Mayo Clinic researcher is the first to develop a series of three-dimensional (3D) models of an enzyme responsible for the replication of the deadly SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory syndrome) virus. These instantaneous "structures-in-time" are central to designing an anti-SARS drug -- and are therefore a welcome advance as the virus continues to threaten public health.

The structure and dynamics of the SARS viral enzyme, called chymotrypsin-like cysteine proteinase, is described in the online version of the journal Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics. Mayo Clinic researcher Yuan-Ping Pang, Ph.D., a chemist and head of the Computer-Aided Molecular Design Laboratory, reports results produced by the terascale computer he designed, built and managed. Using 800 PC processors harnessed together, Dr. Pang analyzed the SARS viral genome and built, atom by atom, the instantaneous 3D structures of the viral enzyme -- each of which is composed of 8,113 atoms -- just 20 days after the SARS viral genome was made public.

Significance of Mayo Clinic Research



By performing exceptionally large-scale computer simulations, which his powerful computer system is capable of performing, Dr. Pang was able to quickly and correctly convert a genomic sequence into the 3D structures of a protein that encodes the blueprint for an anti-SARS drug. This ability is crucial in digesting the information available from the emerging fields of genomics and proteomics and in combating emerging infectious diseases. This work also demonstrates the successful use of low-cost, "homemade" computers for large-scale simulations of biological systems.

The Race for SARS Viral Enzyme Structure

Since the SARS outbreak emerged in early 2003, international researchers raced to obtain the 3D structure of the key SARS viral enzyme so drug design could progress. To date, three independent X-ray crystallography groups have decoded the 3D structures, which are expressed as atomic coordinates. Dr. Pang deposited computer-derived coordinates of his 3D instantaneous structures to the Protein Data Bank on April 30, 2003, and released these structures to the public on July 2, 2003 -- 27 days before the release of the first X-ray structure.

The Next Step

Now that he knows the attributes of the SARS viral enzyme, Dr. Pang uses his customized computers to assess a Mayo in-house chemicals database -- a kind of "dictionary of small molecules" -- that his team built. It contains attributes such as molecular weight, shape and polarity of 2.5 million unique chemical structures. His goal is to match their properties with the computer-revealed dynamic properties of the key SARS viral enzyme -- and by so doing, discover an anti-SARS drug. He is also pushing toward faster computer systems, aiming at petaflops speed -- that’s one thousand trillion floating-point operations per second.

Dr. Pang and Andrea Dooley, a summer undergraduate student from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have finished this search at Mayo and just sent 20 computer-identified small molecules to Southern Research Institute in Birmingham, Ala. for further testing as anti-SARS drugs.

| EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mayo.edu
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/109593993/HTMLSTART

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 >>>