Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists Shed Light On Mechanism Behind Beneficial Effects Of Red Wine

20.09.2004


Scientists are a step closer to understanding the health benefits of drinking red wine. Researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and affiliated with the Salk Institute in San Diego, Calif., have succeeded in converting chalcone synthase, a biosynthetic protein enzyme found in all higher plants, into an efficient resveratrol synthase. Resveratrol, a beneficial component of red wine, is thought to contribute to the improved cardiovascular effects associated with moderate consumption of red wine. The research results appear in the September issue of the journal Chemistry & Biology.



Laboratory studies with resveratrol have demonstrated an impressive list of health benefits, including roles as anti-oxidants, cancer preventing agents, blood thinners and blood pressure -lowering compounds. Resveratrol recently was shown to increase life span in fruit flies and yeast, suggesting an additional role in our diets as a promising anti-aging natural chemical. "This research demonstrates the power of protein engineering in producing value-added traits, and in solving synthetic puzzles using modern techniques," said William Nes, program director in NSF’s division of molecular and cellular biosciences, which funded the research. "The study provides new insights into the relationships among plant proteins."

The health benefits of resveratrol consumption are a lucky accident, scientists say, as grapes actually produce resveratrol in order to defend against fungal invasion. Researchers at the Salk Institute have now deciphered the three-dimensional structure of the plant enzyme that creates this remarkable but rare molecule. In the process, they’ve resolved a long-standing scientific puzzle: the crucial differences between common plant enzymes known as chalcone synthases and their resveratrol-producing relatives, the much rarer stilbene synthases.


Scientists realized decades ago that chalcones and stilbenes, two important classes of plant natural products with different properties, were produced by closely related enzymatic proteins. All higher plants possess chalcone synthase. Chalcone-derived natural chemicals fulfill a number of important biological functions in plants including roles in plant fertility, disease resistance and flower color. Conversely, production of resveratrol and other rare anti-fungal stilbenes occurs in just a few plant species, including grapevines, peanuts, blueberries and some pine trees.

Using the tools of structural biology, Michael Austin, a graduate student at the Salk Institute and the University of California, San Diego, solved the three dimensional structure of resveratrol synthase and compared its shape to its relative chalcone synthase. Austin is part of a research team led by biochemist Joseph Noel of the Salk Institute. The team has uncovered the crucial differences between these related plant enzymes. "In addition to illuminating the molecular mechanisms of plant evolution, this study has agricultural and nutraceutical significance," said Noel.

Noel and colleagues used their new knowledge to convert a chalcone synthase from alfalfa into an efficient resveratrol-producing factory, simply by changing a few amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). "This biotechnological advance will allow us to ’engineer’ natural resveratrol production into crop plants via a small modification of that plant’s own chalcone synthase gene, as occurs naturally in grapes and a few other plants," said Noel.

| NSF News
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>