Scientists engineer space-age molecules from nature's blueprints

Apr 05, 2013 by Bill Hathaway
Yale scientists engineer space-age molecules from nature’s blueprints
Credit: Patrick Lynch, Yale University

The enzyme needed to introduce the key micronutrient selenium into bacteria looks something like a space station with 10 different docking stations.

The docking stations (in brown) are representations of tiny genetic instruction manuals known as tRNAs or .

By editing or changing these docking stations on the protein, Yale researchers led by Dieter Söll, Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysiology and Biochemistry, have shown they can enhance function of a protein to produce of antioxidants crucial to .

The research, published in the April 5 issue of the journal Science, illustrates the potential power of synthetic biology to produce enhanced biological products not found in nature.

For more information on the of the selenocysteine enzyme and a three-D movie of its structure, visit the website.

Explore further: Researchers create first inhibitor for enzyme linked to cancers

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Secrets of a Life-Giving Amino Acid Revealed

Jul 16, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Selenium is a trace element crucial to life -- too little or too much of it is fatal. In the July 17 issue of the journal Science, researchers at Yale University and University of Illinois at Chi ...

Space image: ATV-3 approaches The Station

Apr 09, 2012

(Phys.org) -- In this photo taken from the International Space Station, the European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-3 (ATV-3) is seen on approach for docking. The unmanned cargo spacecraft ...

Unlocking the function of enzymes

Nov 06, 2007

Fitting a key into a lock may seem like a simple task, but researchers at Texas A&M University are using a method that involves testing thousands of keys to unlock the functions of enzymes, and their findings could open the ...

Recommended for you

New computer model sets new precedent in drug discovery

Nov 18, 2014

A major challenge faced by the pharmaceutical industry has been how to rationally design and select protein molecules to create effective biologic drug therapies while reducing unintended side effects - a challenge that has ...

Finding new ways to make drugs

Nov 18, 2014

Chemists have developed a revolutionary new way to manufacture natural chemicals and used it to assemble a scarce anti-inflammatory drug with potential to treat cancer and malaria.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.