Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New substances 15,000 times more effective in destroying chemical warfare agents

Date:
August 8, 2012
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
In an advance that could be used in masks to protect against nerve gas, scientists are reporting development of proteins that are up to 15,000 times more effective than their natural counterpart in destroying chemical warfare agents.

In an advance that could be used in masks to protect against nerve gas, scientists are reporting development of proteins that are up to 15,000 times more effective than their natural counterpart in destroying chemical warfare agents. Their report appears in ACS' journal Biochemistry.

Frank Raushel, David Barondeau and colleagues explain that a soil bacterium makes a protein called phosphotriesterase (PTE), which is an enzyme that detoxifies some pesticides and chemical warfare agents like sarin and tabun. PTE thus has potential uses in protecting soldiers and others. Natural PTE, however, works against only one of the two molecular forms of these chemical warfare agents, and it happens to be the less toxic form. The scientists thus set out to develop new versions of PTE that were more effective against the most toxic form.

To improve the enzyme's activity, Raushel and colleagues used an approach called "directed evolution." This technique imitates the way natural selection leads to improved forms of the biochemical substances in living things. In using directed evolution, the team made small random changes to the natural enzyme's chemical architecture and then tested resulting mutant enzymes for their ability to break down nerve agents. They isolated several mutants that fit the bill, including one that proved to be 15,000 times more effective than the natural enzyme.

The authors acknowledge funding from the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ping-Chuan Tsai, Nicholas Fox, Andrew N. Bigley, Steven P. Harvey, David P. Barondeau, Frank M. Raushel. Enzymes for the Homeland Defense: Optimizing Phosphotriesterase for the Hydrolysis of Organophosphate Nerve Agents. Biochemistry, 2012; 120731143027000 DOI: 10.1021/bi300811t

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "New substances 15,000 times more effective in destroying chemical warfare agents." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808121908.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2012, August 8). New substances 15,000 times more effective in destroying chemical warfare agents. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808121908.htm
American Chemical Society. "New substances 15,000 times more effective in destroying chemical warfare agents." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808121908.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) A new company allows customers to make copies of keys by simply uploading a couple of photos. But could it also be great for thieves? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A SpaceX Rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, carrying a custom-built 3-D printer into space. NASA envisions astronauts one day using the printer to make their own spare parts. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Billions of dollars are being spent on a massive super sewer to take away London's vast output of waste, which is endangering the River Thames. (Sept. 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:

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