New method for quicker and simpler production of lipidated proteins

In the Journal of the American Chemical Society, researchers from Graz University of Technology and University of Vienna present a new method for the production of lipid proteins © TU Graz/ORGC

Some of the body’s proteins are not just made up of amino acids, they are also ‘decorated’ with lipid chains, which significantly influence the biological functions of the protein.

An example is the Ras protein, which plays a role in the development of many types of cancers and is only active and cancer-causing if it is able to bind to the cell membrane with the help of a ‘lipid anchor’.

Fundamental research as a basis for medical progress

Gaining a better understanding of these processes in the human body can greatly accelerate the development of new medicines and cancer therapies. However, the methods of investigation employed up to now have proven very time-consuming and costly. Rolf Breinbauer from TU Graz’s Institute of Organic Chemistry and Christian Becker from the Institute of Biological Chemistry at the University of Vienna have come up with a much simpler and direct method of introducing lipids into protein, which they recently published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS).

A noble metal for protein modification

The researchers used the noble metal palladium as a catalyst for attaching lipids to proteins. BIPHEPHOS a type of ligand, plays a crucial role in the process, explains Breinbauer: “We tested a total of 50 different ligands. BIPHEPHOS was kind of the ‘missing link’. It has the selectivity needed for palladium to facilitate the lipidation of the sulphurous amino acid cysteine.”

Protein chemist Christian Becker applied what they had learned to proteins, with equally successful results: “The outstanding selectivity of the new catalyst and the robust reaction facilitate the rapid modification of numerous cysteine-containing peptides and proteins for use in biomedical research.”

Medical application

Decorating proteins with pharmaceuticals and other molecules for targeted delivery into the body and for keeping them active is an approach commonly used in medicine today. The method developed by Breinbauer and Becker could now be used to accurately and efficiently introduce such molecules into proteins. Breinbauer is confident that their method will soon be adopted because “the reagents we used are very easy to manufacture or can be purchased.”

Original publication: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jacs.9b08279

This research project is a stand-alone project funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and is part of the Human & Biotechnology Field of Expertise (FoE), one of five research focuses at TU Graz, as well as the Biology and Medical Chemistry research focus of the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Vienna.

TU Graz contact
Prof. Rolf Breinbauer
Institute of Organic Chemistry | TU Graz
Tel. +43 (0)316 87332400
E-mail: breinbauer@tugraz.at
orgc.tugraz.at

University of Vienna contact
Prof. Christian F.W. Becker
Institute of Biological Chemistry | University of Vienna
Tel. +43 (0)1 427770510
christian.becker@univie.ac.at

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jacs.9b08279

https://www.tugraz.at/institute/orgc/home/ (Institute of Organic Chemistry | TU Graz)
https://biologischechemie.univie.ac.at/en/ (Institute of Biological Chemistry | University of Vienna)

Media Contact

Mag. Christoph Pelzl Technische Universität Graz

All news from this category: Life Sciences and Chemistry

Articles and reports from the Life Sciences and chemistry area deal with applied and basic research into modern biology, chemistry and human medicine.

Valuable information can be found on a range of life sciences fields including bacteriology, biochemistry, bionics, bioinformatics, biophysics, biotechnology, genetics, geobotany, human biology, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology, cellular biology, zoology, bioinorganic chemistry, microchemistry and environmental chemistry.

Back to the Homepage

Comments (0)

Write comment

Latest posts

Chemists create renewable plant-based polymers

What makes them different is that they can be easily recycled. Researchers at the Laboratory of Cluster Catalysis at St Petersburg University have synthesised polymers from biomass. What makes them…

Atom interferometry demonstrated in space for the first time

Researchers present results of experiments with atom interferometry on a sounding rocket / Further rocket missions set to follow. Extremely precise measurements are possible using atom interferometers that employ the…

Ocean bacteria release carbon into the atmosphere

Research could help scientists better estimate Earth’s carbon budget. A team led by University of Minnesota researchers has discovered that deep-sea bacteria dissolve carbon-containing rocks, releasing excess carbon into the…

Partners & Sponsors