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Researchers use new approach to predict protein function

ily. Enolases are enzymes that catalyze the breakdown of glucose and related compounds into other molecules as needed for metabolism.

The enzymes within the enolase superfamily utilize similar reaction mechanisms to one another but catalyze different reactions, complicating the task of discovering their function. There are more than 3,000 proteins in the enolase superfamily, and a majority of them have not yet been fully or accurately characterized. (The new study also revealed that one family of enolase proteins had been misclassified.)

Gerlt and his colleagues expect that the computational approach they pioneered will help scientists more efficiently tackle the problem of understanding these and other unknown proteins.

There are 4 1/2 million protein sequences in the sequence databanks, and maybe the functions are known for, can be assigned to, half of those with some reliability, Gerlt said. That tells you that there is a lot of biology to be discovered.


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Contact: Diana Yates
diya@uiuc.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
11-Jul-2007


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