Scientists push enzyme evolution into high gear

Work could lead to mass production of useful plant products

UPTON, NY -- Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have found a way to make a plant enzyme that is 100 times more efficient than similar enzymes found in nature. The research, described in the June 15, 2001 issue of The Journal of Biological Chemistry, offers insight into how enzymes evolve, and may one day lead to methods to boost production of other useful plant products.

"Plants make many valuable compounds, but often in small quantities," says John Shanklin, the lead biologist on the study. Though not the direct focus of Shanklin's work, examples could include medicinal compounds and oils that may be useful as raw materials for industrial processes.

Shanklin suggests that the reason for such poor production in nature is that the enzymes responsible are newly evolved. "That may seem strange, because many people associate evolution with improvement. But when enzymes evolve new functions, they almost always lose efficiency," he says.

Enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions by bringing the reacting molecules together like pieces of a puzzle. Like all proteins, theyre made of chains of building blocks called amino acids, folded in a precise way to give the enzyme its three-dimensional shape.

In nature, new enzymes arise from random mutations in the genes that code for the amino-acid sequence. Most changes have no effect. A very small percentage improve the enzyme or give it a new function. But more often the changes deform the enzyme, making it ineffective or unstable, Shanklin says. Over hundreds or even millions of years, natural selection might improve the new enzyme. But Shanklin and his team thought there might be a more direct way. "Could we evolve a better enzyme in the laboratory?" he asked.

The method

Shanklin and fellow Brookhaven biologist Ed Whittle were interested in making a more efficient fat-modi

Contact: Karen McNulty Walsh
DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Scientists to prototype cyberinfrastructure for research and education access to ocean observatories
2. Scientists sequence genome of kind of organism central to biospheres carbon cycle
3. Scientists find nanowires capable of detecting individual viruses
4. Scientists discover potential new way to control drug-resistant bacteria
5. Scientists explore genome of methane-breathing microbe
6. Scientists decipher genetic code of biothreat pathogen
7. Stuck on you: Scientists lay bare secrets of bacterial attachment proteins
8. Scientists discover proteins involved in spread of HIV-1 infection
9. Scientists fear new Ebola outbreak may explain sudden gorilla disappearance
10. Scientists reinvent DNA as template to produce organic molecules
11. Scientists visualise cellular handmaiden that restores shape to proteins

Post Your Comments:

(Date:4/4/2019)... ... 2019 , ... Orbsen Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on ... move its base of operations from the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway ... in Galway, Ireland. , “With four clinical trials in full swing and the ...
(Date:4/4/2019)... ... April 02, 2019 , ... Researchers from Ambry Genetics ... RNA genetic testing (RGT), as a supplement to DNA genetic testing, improves variant ... poster, is one of 13 presentations at the 2019 American College of Medical ...
(Date:4/1/2019)... ... 2019 , ... uBiome announces the issue of patent number ... Patent and Trademark Office on January 1, 2019 with a priority date of ... Zachary Apte, Dr. Daniel Almonacid, Dr. Jessica Richman, and Dr. Catalina Valdivia, and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/8/2019)... ... , ... US Capital Global Securities , an affiliate of US Capital ... privately held pharmaceutical company, S1 Biopharma (“S1”). , S1 has a pipeline of drugs ... dysfunction disorder and is ready to begin phase 2b trials. In phase 2a trials, ...
(Date:3/27/2019)... , ... March 26, 2019 , ... A leader in ... cell services to veterinarians across the United States and Canada since 2004. The ... and soft tissue injuries in the dog, cat, and horse. Recently, VetStem ...
(Date:3/19/2019)... ... 2019 , ... The AACR annual conference pulls together a diverse group of ... cancer research. The Visikol team will be at the show at booth #3252 and ... as their digital pathology services . “For AACR this year we are highlighting ...
(Date:3/19/2019)... and BASEL, Switzerland (PRWEB) , ... ... ... Medical Center at Tel HaShomer, the largest hospital in Israel and the ... point-of-care cell-therapy manufacturing using the state-of-the-art Cocoon™ manufacturing platform. The partnership will ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: