Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fungal Cleaning Crew

26.02.2013
Freiburg Chemists determine the structure of an enzyme that breaks down dyes

Fungi serve as a kind of natural cleaning crew for the ecosystem. They form enzymes that can degrade hazardous substances, converting natural as well as man-made toxins into harmless compounds.


Specimens of the edible fungus Jew’s ear on a tree. / Source: René Ullrich/IHI Zittau

For instance, they can help to break down synthetic dyes, which accumulate in great amounts during the production of textiles. Prof. Dr. Dietmar A. Plattner, Dr. Klaus Piontek, and Eric Strittmatter from the Institute of Organic Chemistry of the University of Freiburg and their colleagues from research groups at the International Graduate School of Zittau of the University of Dresden have determined the three-dimensional atomic structure of an enzyme of this kind, a dye-decolorizing peroxidase (DyP). Their findings have now been published in the renowned Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC).

In nature, all organisms make use of enzymes in order to build up and break down vital substances. These biocatalysts are often superior to traditional chemical processes as they enable chemical reactions under especially mild conditions. Several fungal enzymes are commonly used in industry as a replacement for other chemicals. In clothing production, for example, they are the reagents responsible for giving blue jeans a so-called stonewashed or used look.

Plattner’s research team is studying several fungal enzymes and attempting to analyze their structure. The scientists hope that this will lead to a better understanding of how the enzymes function. Up until the end of 2010, the scientists were consortium members of the European Union project BIORENEW that was funded with a total of 15 million. They are now participating in the project BioIndustrie2021, which is receiving 1.1 euros in funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The Freiburg researchers are currently focusing their efforts on enzymes of the class heme peroxidase. In the future, they hope to use their findings to design custom-made enzymes for industrial applications, making many chemical processes more environmentally friendly.

The dye-decolorizing peroxidase (DyP) belongs to the class of heme peroxidases and is isolated from Jew’s ear, an edible fungus indigenous to Germany. Piontek and Strittmatter used x-ray crystallographic methods to elucidate the atomic structure of the enzyme. With the help of this model, they determined how the substrate molecules need to bind to the enzyme in order to be converted to other substances in a chemical reaction. While studying this mechanism, they discovered an apparent contradiction: The binding pocket is only large enough for some of the substrate molecules – for the smaller chemical compounds that are converted by the enzyme. However, it is too small for larger and bulky substrates such as synthetic dyes. Hence, there must be another binding site on the surface of the enzyme that larger molecules can dock onto. The members of Plattner’s team succeeded in locating this site. In addition, they identified the amino acid that enables the enzyme to interact with the substrate and transfers an electron from the substrate molecule to the center of the enzyme. This is the second example of a so-called redox-active surface amino acid to be found in fungal enzymes to date.

Original publication: http://www.jbc.org/content/288/6/4095

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Dietmar A. Plattner
Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of Freiburg
Phone: +49 (0)761 / 203-6013
E-Mail: Dietmar.Plattner@chemie.uni-freiburg.de
Dr. Klaus Piontek
Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of Freiburg
Phone: +49 (0)761 / 203-6036
E-Mail: Klaus.Piontek@ocbc.uni-freiburg.de

| University of Freiburg
Further information:
http://www.jbc.org/content/288/6/4095
http://www.uni-freiburg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers target protein that protects bacteria's DNA 'recipes'
21.08.2018 | University of Rochester

nachricht Protein interaction helps Yersinia cause disease
21.08.2018 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Air pollution leads to cardiovascular diseases

21.08.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Researchers target protein that protects bacteria's DNA 'recipes'

21.08.2018 | Life Sciences

A paper battery powered by bacteria

21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>