Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Structure Of Enzyme Against Chemical Warfare Agents Determined

Date:
February 2, 2009
Source:
Goethe University Frankfurt
Summary:
The enzyme DFPase is able to rapidly and efficiently detoxify chemical warfare agents such as Sarin, which was used in the Tokyo subway attacks in 1995. A detailed understanding of the mechanism by which the enzyme catalyzes chemical reactions is necessary for efforts aiming to improve its properties as a decontaminant. Its structure, which is closely related to its function, has now been determined by neutron diffraction.

The enzyme DFPase from the squid Loligo vulgaris, is able to rapidly and efficiently detoxify chemical warfare agents such as Sarin, which was used in the Tokyo subway attacks in 1995. A detailed understanding of the mechanism by which enzymes catalyze chemical reactions is necessary for efforts aiming to improve their properties.

Related Articles


A group of researchers at the University of Frankfurt, the Bundeswehr Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology in Munich, and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, USA, have successfully determined the structure of DFPase using neutron diffraction.

The team used the neutron source at Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of only three sources worldwide equipped for protein crystallography. In contrast to structure determination using X-rays, neutrons are able to locate the positions of hydrogen atoms, which make up half of all atoms in proteins, and are crucial for chemical reactions. As X-rays interact with the electron cloud around an atomic nucleus, so heavier elements are more easily seen, while neutrons interact with the atomic nuclei, and atoms in proteins such as hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and sulfur, all scatter neutrons in a similar manner.

Yet despite being so widespread, hydrogen atoms in proteins are quite elusive. As X-rays interact with the electron cloud around an atomic nucleus, hydrogen atoms, with only one electron, are normally invisible in structures. In contrast, neutrons interact with the atomic nuclei, such that atoms in proteins, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and sulfur, all scatter neutrons in a similar manner. The two techniques therefore yield complementary information about a protein structure. This information about hydrogen atoms is therefore essential for a basic understanding of the reaction mechanism of DFPase.

Neutron structures of proteins are quite rare and technically demanding, requiring large crystals and long measurement times. Though the first neutron structure of a protein was reported 40 years ago, in 1969, to date only about 20 unique structures have been solved, out of 50000 entries in the Protein Data Bank. " The effort has been absolutely worth it, " says Junior-Prof. Julian Chen, who published this work together with Dr. Marc-Michael Blum and Prof. Heinz Rueterjans. " Based on the results of this study, we can now create targeted changes to DFPase to augment the activity, as well as diversify the substrate range of the enzyme."

This research is published in the 20 January 2009 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (106(3), 713-718).


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Goethe University Frankfurt. "Structure Of Enzyme Against Chemical Warfare Agents Determined." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090128160821.htm>.
Goethe University Frankfurt. (2009, February 2). Structure Of Enzyme Against Chemical Warfare Agents Determined. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090128160821.htm
Goethe University Frankfurt. "Structure Of Enzyme Against Chemical Warfare Agents Determined." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090128160821.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
British 'Bio-Bus' Is Powered By Human Waste

British 'Bio-Bus' Is Powered By Human Waste

Buzz60 (Nov. 21, 2014) British company GENeco debuted what its calling the Bio-Bus, a bus fueled entirely by biomethane gas produced from food scraps and sewage. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
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


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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