Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Surprising Gymnastics Discovered In One Type Of Chemical Reaction Fundamental To Biochemistry

Date:
January 18, 2008
Source:
Texas Tech University
Summary:
When they started, they expected to see a run-of-the-mill chemical reaction. What they discovered was an atomic-level dance that no one predicted. After three years of study, researchers have found that one type of a certain chemical reaction fundamental to cellular biochemistry is actually more complex than originally thought.

When they started, they expected to see a run-of-the-mill chemical reaction.

What they discovered was an atomic-level dance that no one predicted.

After three years of study, researchers at Texas Tech University and the Physics Institute of the University of Freiburg, Germany, have found that one type of a certain chemical reaction fundamental to cellular biochemistry is actually more complex than originally thought.

Knowledge of how these SN2 chemical reactions occur at the atomic level could mean better-engineered drugs or a greater understanding of metabolic chemistry and medicine, said William "Bill" Hase, the Robert A. Welch Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Texas Tech University.

"Understanding this kind of reaction in terms of cell biology may help us to predict rates of chemical changes in a cell and understand how changes of molecular structure affect cell function," Hase said. "When you take drugs, they are there to alter the chemistry of the cell, or to alter the course of a chemical process. To understand exactly how these types of SN2 reactions occur could lead to changes in how we design drugs."

Their work was published in the December issue of Science. It was funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Robert A. Welch Foundation.

Hase, a pioneer of computerized simulations of chemical reactions, said that the SN2 reaction is fundamental to cellular metabolism. Hase, with research colleagues U. Lourderaj and Jiaxu Zhang, used supercomputers to generate exactly what happens in the SN2 reaction when a chloride ion came in contact with methyl iodide (CH3I).

"We discovered a fundamentally new mechanism for this reaction that no one would have discovered without computer simulation," Hase said. "We discovered there was an exciting new way that the atoms move for the reaction to occur. I could never have conceived of how this type of reaction occurs before I’d seen the actual computer simulation."

Instead of a linear-type reaction, where the chloride ion knocks the iodine atom off the compound, Hase found that the chloride ion actually roundhouse kicks the methyl iodide compound in a circle before the iodide ion falls off. Researchers weren’t expecting to see the complex gymnastics involved, he said.

Philip Smith, senior director of Texas Tech’s High Performance Computing Center, said Hase’s research numerically simulates collections of atoms, and is a very computer-intensive endeavor.

Some of his simulations may run for weeks or even months on 32 or more processors, Smith said. Usually, these computers must run hundreds of such simulations to obtain chemically meaningful results.

"These computations lead to insights on how atoms react to form molecules and how catalysts work," Smith said. "It is our job at the High Performance Computing Center to help configure the hardware and software to support such activities. We also "tune" the codes that Bill uses so that they run two to 10 times faster than they would ‘out of the box.’ "


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas Tech University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Texas Tech University. "Surprising Gymnastics Discovered In One Type Of Chemical Reaction Fundamental To Biochemistry." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080116185137.htm>.
Texas Tech University. (2008, January 18). Surprising Gymnastics Discovered In One Type Of Chemical Reaction Fundamental To Biochemistry. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080116185137.htm
Texas Tech University. "Surprising Gymnastics Discovered In One Type Of Chemical Reaction Fundamental To Biochemistry." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080116185137.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

AP (Apr. 23, 2014) Speaking about the future of the United States Air Force, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh says the choice to divest the A-10 fleet was logical and least impactful. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) The urban 4x4 is the latest must-have for Chinese drivers, whose conversion to the cult of the SUV is the talking point of this year's Beijing auto show. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
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