Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Awarded $33.9 Million Grant to Study Enzyme Functions

21.05.2010
A team of researchers led by University of Illinois biochemistry professor John A. Gerlt has received a five-year, $33.9 million grant from the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences to study the functions of unknown enzymes.

The “glue grant” – so-called because it brings together multidisciplinary groups of investigators – was awarded to provide resources to tackle the “complex problems that are of central importance to biomedical science but are beyond the means of any one research group,” according to the NIGMS.

Gerlt’s team will develop a strategy for discovering the functions of unknown, or uncharacterized, enzymes discovered in genome-sequencing projects.

“Genome projects have taught us that many of nature’s enzymes have unknown functions that need to be discovered,” said Gerlt, an expert on the enolase superfamily of enzymes.

Enzymes are proteins that catalyze the chemical reactions required for life, and enable organisms to live in complex environments and adapt to a variety of conditions.

“We have sequences for more than 10 million proteins and we might know the specific functions of half of those,” Gerlt said. “But what do the other half do? If we knew their functions, imagine how we might use them to identify new drug targets or provide catalysts used in industry.”

Gerlt and co-researcher Patricia Babbitt, of the University of California at San Francisco, have led the way in developing a novel method to determine an uncharacterized protein’s function. Their approach uses computational methods to narrow the range of possible substrates for the enzyme.

Gerlt says this project is a potentially powerful way to exploit the sequence data that have not yet been deciphered; it also could provide a way to learn more about metabolic pathways crucial to all organisms.

For the glue grant, officially known as the Enzyme Function Initiative, Gerlt and Babbitt have assembled a team of researchers from several disciplines to determine the structure of an unknown enzyme and then, computationally, determine a “hit list” of possible substrates, numbering in the tens, rather than the thousands.

The team of researchers comprises scientists from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Boston University, Texas A&M University, the University of New Mexico, the University of Utah, the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and the University of Virginia.

The team also includes a microbiology group led by John Cronan, a professor of microbiology at Illinois, and Jonathan Sweedler, a professor of chemistry at Illinois.

“This program gathers together an outstanding group of researchers who will use their expertise in enzymology, structural biology, computational modeling and bioinformatics to develop an approach to associate enzymatic functions with genes in thousands of organisms,” said Warren Jones, the chief of the biochemistry and biorelated chemistry branch in the division of pharmacology, physiology and biological chemistry at the NIGMS.

Diana Yates | University of Illinois
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Inactivate vaccines faster and more effectively using electron beams
23.03.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

nachricht Hunting pathogens at full force
22.03.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Vanishing capillaries

23.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Nanomagnetism in X-ray Light

23.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>