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.

"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 July 22, 2014 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 July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
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:
from the past week

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