Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Antibodies Know Right From Left

Date:
May 22, 1998
Source:
Weizmann Institute Of Science
Summary:
Knowing right from left is essential in many areas of life -- even on the molecular level. Prof. Meir Wilchek of the Weizmann Institute's Biological Chemistry Department, working with an international team of researchers, has now discovered that this ability is particularly prominent in antibodies, the Y-shaped proteins produced by the immune system.

Knowing right from left is essential in many areas of life -- even on the molecular level. Prof. Meir Wilchek of the Weizmann Institute's Biological Chemistry Department, working with an international team of researchers, has now discovered that this ability is particularly prominent in antibodies, the Y-shaped proteins produced by the immune system.

Related Articles


Antibodies fight disease-causing intruders, such as viruses, by binding with the intruders' molecules and thus neutralizing them. In a study reported in the April 8 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the scientists found that in seeking out appropriate molecules with which to bind, the antibodies distinguish between left- and right-handed amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Thus, some antibodies only bind with left-handed amino acids, completely ignoring the right-handed ones, while others only bind with right-handed amino acids.

The antibodies are so exquisitely precise they can recognize a small part of a single amino acid, known as the chiral center, which determines the amino acid's orientation to the right or left. Molecules that are identical in chemical composition but whose structures are mirror images of one another, like the right and left hand, are called chiral (from chir, Ancient Greek for "hand"). Such molecules have different properties and are not superimposable.

This research may prove of great significance for the pharmaceutical industry. It has been shown in the past few years that in many drugs it is only the compound of a particular "handedness" that is effective, while its "mirror image" is useless or even harmful. Therefore, developing an efficient way to identify and sort out left- and right-handed molecules with the help of antibodies could pave the way for more effective pharmaceuticals.

Prof. Wilchek serves as Dean of the Biochemistry Faculty and holds the Marc R. Gutwirth Chair of Molecular Biology. He conducted the study with Oliver Hofstetter (recipient of a short-term fellowship from Boehringer Ingelheim Funds) and Dr. Heike Hofstetter of Weizmann's Biological Chemistry Department, Prof. Volke Schurig of Germany's Tuebingen University and Prof. Bernard S. Green of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Funding was provided by the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (GIF).

The Weizmann Institute of Science, in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world's foremost centers of scientific research and graduate study. Its 2,400 scientists, students, technicians, and engineers pursue basic research in the quest for knowledge and the enhancement of the human condition. New ways of fighting disease and hunger, protecting the environment, and harnessing alternative sources of energy are high priorities.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Weizmann Institute Of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Weizmann Institute Of Science. "Antibodies Know Right From Left." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 May 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/05/980522081919.htm>.
Weizmann Institute Of Science. (1998, May 22). Antibodies Know Right From Left. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/05/980522081919.htm
Weizmann Institute Of Science. "Antibodies Know Right From Left." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/05/980522081919.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins