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 Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

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

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>