Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Designer Molecules: Largest Protein Ever Created From Scratch Has Implications For Novel Drug Delivery And Diagnostics

Date:
May 12, 1999
Source:
University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center
Summary:
For the last decade, scientists have been trying to accurately synthesize substances with shapes that mimic biological molecules, specifically proteins that drive important biochemical pathways in humans. So far, these attempts have made moderate strides, both in terms of size of the designed protein and the precision with which it folds from a string of amino acids to its final three-dimensional structure. Now, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center have created the largest protein from scratch, with both a stable and predictable shape.

For the last decade, scientists have been trying to accurately synthesize substances with shapes that mimic biological molecules, specifically proteins that drive important biochemical pathways in humans. So far, these attempts have made moderate strides, both in terms of size of the designed protein and the precision with which it folds from a string of amino acids to its final three-dimensional structure. Now, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center have created the largest protein from scratch, with both a stable and predictable shape.

Related Articles


"The ability to do this really takes us out of the realm of tinkering with existing proteins to engineering entirely new proteins and polymers," says senior author William F. DeGrado, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and biophysics. "We have shown that it is now possible to design a protein with a well-defined three-dimensional structure." The Penn group's findings appear in the May 11 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

DeGrado notes that implications of this advance in protein design could be as broad as those for natural proteins -- from manufacturing entirely new polymers for industrial catalysts to creating new pharmaceuticals.

To design a protein, scientists generally work backwards from nature in a two-step process. They first choose an existing three-dimensional protein structure and then, using complex computer programs, find a new sequence of amino acids that folds into the same shape as the natural protein. The Penn team's approach is one step removed from that. "We asked: Can we generate proteins that are inspired by nature but have no direct natural equivalent?," explains DeGrado.

The protein -- called alpha-3D -- was designed, produced, and characterized by Scott Walsh, a doctoral student in DeGrado's lab. Alpha-3D is a bundle of three counterclockwise-coiling helices whose general shape was inspired by a protein found in the common household bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. Alpha-3D is also three times larger than previously synthesized proteins.

"By designing larger proteins, we can make them more stable and thus easier to manipulate," says Walsh. The next step will be to build a specific function into the protein's structure. Currently, Walsh is retooling the surface of alpha-3D to cause it to bind to a variety of hormonal receptors. Natural proteins that do this are expensive to produce and suffer from limited shelf lives. Novel mimics of these proteins may have enhanced stability and potency.

This work was conducted in the Johnson Research Foundation, a funding and research organization within Penn's Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics that concentrates on the study of physics as it applies to medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. "Designer Molecules: Largest Protein Ever Created From Scratch Has Implications For Novel Drug Delivery And Diagnostics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 May 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990512080142.htm>.
University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. (1999, May 12). Designer Molecules: Largest Protein Ever Created From Scratch Has Implications For Novel Drug Delivery And Diagnostics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990512080142.htm
University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. "Designer Molecules: Largest Protein Ever Created From Scratch Has Implications For Novel Drug Delivery And Diagnostics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990512080142.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

AFP (Jan. 25, 2015) The World Health Organization&apos;s chief on Sunday admitted the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) Much of the Disneyland measles outbreak is being blamed on the anti-vaccination movement. The CDC encourages just about everyone get immunized. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

AP (Jan. 23, 2015) Public health officials are rushing to contain a measles outbreak that has sickened 70 people across 6 states and Mexico. The AP&apos;s Raquel Maria Dillon has more. (Jan. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
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