Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New technique permits development of enzyme tool kit

11.05.2010
An Arizona State University graduate student, Jinglin Fu, in collaboration with Biodesign Institute researchers Neal Woodbury and Stephen Albert Johnston, has pioneered a technique that improves on scientists’ ability to harness and modulate enzyme activity.

The new approach, reported in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (published online on Apr. 21st, 2010) , could have wide applicability for designing a range of industrial catalysts, health care diagnostics and therapies centered on understanding the control of enzymatic activity.

Enzymes, key catalysts that speed up the reactions inside every cell, are critical for life. As Neal Woodbury, chief scientist the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University notes, “all the processes that happen inside of your body, essentially without exception, are run by enzymes.” Enzymes are also a prized tool in biomedical research, aiding the development of diagnostic tests and therapeutics for a range of human diseases.

But studying the role of enzymes can be tricky. One approach has been to use a specialized platform known as a microarray—where glass slides are deposited with 10,000 protein fragments, called peptides, that are screened for their ability to react with specific enzymes and alter their activity. “On the microarray, you can screen thousands of molecules at the same time,” Fu says, allowing the simultaneous monitoring of the peptide-enzyme binding and the change in enzyme activity at each spot on the array.

But there is a problem with this approach, that has so far hampered enzyme research. “When you try to monitor the chemical reaction that the enzyme catalyzes in the microarray, the molecule generated by the enzyme reaction quickly diffuses away, causing serious cross-contamination between spots on the array,” Fu explains. To solve this problem, Fu applied polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)—a thick, viscous and clear polymer— to the microarray slide to limit the diffusion of molecules and hold the reactions in place, preventing contamination.

In the current study, Fu’s team was able to observe the effects that peptides had on the activity of three broad classes of enzymes. In some cases, peptides blocked the activity of an enzyme but in others, peptides acted to alter the whole structure of the enzyme—often in unanticipated ways—allowing it to function differently.

“What Jinglin has invented,” Woodbury stresses, “is a way of finding a peptide that will allow us to both put an enzyme in a particular place and modulate its activity. It allows us to begin to group different enzymes according to function.” In addition to possible biomedical applications, the enzyme tool kit made possible through the group’s research could be applied to modulating enzymes for a variety of industrial purposes, for new detergents or pharmaceuticals. Further, the strategy is not limited to peptides. It can theoretically be applied to virtually any small molecule suitable for an array, making the technique extremely versatile.

Written by Richard Harth
Biodesign Institute Science Writer
richard.harth@asu.edu

Richard Harth | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.asu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | 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: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>