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 What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals
23.08.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Treating arthritis with algae
23.08.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>