Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Closing In On the Secret of Possible New Enzymes

02.06.2017

Heidelberg chemists investigate the biological function of patellamides

Researchers at Heidelberg University have gained new knowledge on the possible biological function of patellamides. In laboratory experiments, they were able to demonstrate that this natural product displays important catalytic activity in combination with copper(II).


Photo: Annika Eisenschmidt

To investigate the stability of the copper(II)-patellamide complexes in Prochloron, blue-green algae from the Great Barrier reef were isolated along with their host Lissoclinum patella (the pale blue organism in the picture). Near Heron Island off Australia's eastern coast, Dr Geoffrey Nette supervised collection of the organisms at a depth of one to three meters along the reef crest.

The team of scientists headed by chemist Prof. Dr Peter Comba developed a special method to determine whether this activity can also be observed in the patellamide-producing organisms. This means that stable copper(II) patellamide complexes could be confirmed in living cells – which would imply that these compounds can act as catalysts. It may even point to a new type of enzyme.

Patellamides were first isolated in 1981 from the ascidian Lissoclinum patella. Today, scientists know that they are not produced by the ascidian itself but by its symbiont, the blue-green algae Prochloron. In earlier laboratory experiments, the Heidelberg researchers already proved that patellamides bind two copper(II) ions to form a complex that functions, among others, as a catalyst for the absorption of carbon dioxide.

Based on these findings, the researchers now want to find out, if the catalytic activity of the dinuclear copper(II)-patellamide compounds also plays a role inside the Prochloron cells – that is, whether they could be a new type of enzyme.

Therefore, Dr Annika Eisenschmidt explored the stability of the complexes in blue-green algae as part of her doctoral thesis. She prepared an artificial patellamide with a so-called fluorescence marker, which causes the modified patellamide to illuminate. The fluorescence is extinguished, however, as soon as the patellamide binds copper(II).

Because Prochloron can only be isolated from the Great Barrier Reef and the cells are observed to merely stay alive for one week after collection, the method was first tested on a related algae. The researchers subsequently expanded their experiments in cooperation with colleagues in Australia.

It was thus possible to isolate the Prochloron cells on site together with the host, the ascidian Lissioclinum patella. The artificial, fluorescing patellamides could then be introduced into the cells. The result: As previously observed in the test tube, the fluorescence extinguished when copper(II) was added to these cells. According to Peter Comba, this demonstrates that stable copper(II)-patellamide complexes are formed inside the Prochloron cells.

The scientists will now attempt to identify the exact structure of these complexes in living cells. “If the compounds are dinuclear, as we observed in our laboratory experiments, then they could actually have important functions as enzymes,” emphasises the chemist.

Original publication:
P. Comba, A. Eisenschmidt, L.R. Gahan, D.P. Herten, G. Nette, G. Schenk, and M. Seefeld: Is CuII coordinated to patellamides inside Prochloron cells? Chemistry – A European Journal (published online 24 March 2017), doi: 10.1002/chem.201700895

Contact:
Prof. Dr Peter Comba
Institute of Inorganic Chemistry
Phone +49 6221 54-8453
peter.comba@aci.uni-heidelberg.de

Communications and Marketing
Press Office, phone +49 6221 54-2311
presse@rektorat.uni-heidelberg.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.uni-heidelberg.de/comba-group

Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.uni-heidelberg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How molecules teeter in a laser field
18.01.2019 | Forschungsverbund Berlin

nachricht Discovery of enhanced bone growth could lead to new treatments for osteoporosis
18.01.2019 | University of California - Los Angeles

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Additive manufacturing reflects fundamental metallurgical principles to create materials

18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

How molecules teeter in a laser field

18.01.2019 | Life Sciences

The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease

18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>