Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vitamin variants could combat cancer as scientists unravel B12 secrets

Date:
October 8, 2012
Source:
University of Kent
Summary:
In a development that may lead to new drugs to treat cancer, scientists have discovered the process by which a key vitamin (B12) is made in cells.

In a development that may lead to new drugs to treat cancer, scientists at the University of Kent have discovered the process by which a key vitamin (B12) is made in cells.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Kent

In a development that may lead to new drugs to treat cancer, scientists at the University of Kent have discovered the process by which a key vitamin (B12) is made in cells.

A team at the University's School of Biosciences led by Professor Martin Warren devised a method that allows them to study how the individual steps for vitamin B12 construction are pieced together. B12 is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in the formation of red blood cells and the maintenance of the nervous system. Deficiencies are associated with anemia, cardiovascular disorders and dementia.

Using techniques of the new discipline of synthetic biology, researchers engineered a conveyor belt of molecular machines for the construction of the vitamin within bacteria. By varying the length of the assembly line, they were able to unravel how the vitamin is manufactured.

Significantly, the team were also able to alter some of the molecular machines on the conveyor belt and change the form of the vitamin that is made. It is hoped that these novel variant forms of the vitamin will act as important new drugs to treat diseases such as cancer and infections such as tuberculosis (TB).

The team's research paper An enzyme-trap approach allows isolation of intermediates in cobalamin (vitamin B12) biosynthesis is published in the current edition of the journal Nature Chemical Biology, the leading scientific journal in the field.

Professor Warren, who is Head of the School of Biosciences, said: 'This is a really important step forward. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that is only made by bacteria and is not present in plants. Therefore a significant proportion of the world's population, including vegetarians, are at risk of B12 deficiency.

'Our work will assist in the generation of better ways of making more of this vitamin available and is also permitting us to make new compounds that will literally allow us to throw a spanner in the works of infections such as TB and diseases such as cancer.'

The Kent team worked with several partners including new biotechnology company Cangenix, based at the School of Biosciences, and researchers at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). The research was funded by a research grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council to Professor Warren and Professor Richard Pickersgill of QMUL.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Evelyne Deery, Susanne Schroeder, Andrew D Lawrence, Samantha L Taylor, Arefeh Seyedarabi, Jitka Waterman, Keith S Wilson, David Brown, Michael A Geeves, Mark J Howard, Richard W Pickersgill, Martin J Warren. An enzyme-trap approach allows isolation of intermediates in cobalamin biosynthesis. Nature Chemical Biology, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.1086

Cite This Page:

University of Kent. "Vitamin variants could combat cancer as scientists unravel B12 secrets." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121008082959.htm>.
University of Kent. (2012, October 8). Vitamin variants could combat cancer as scientists unravel B12 secrets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121008082959.htm
University of Kent. "Vitamin variants could combat cancer as scientists unravel B12 secrets." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121008082959.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Catching More Than Fish: Ugandan Town Crippled by AIDS

Catching More Than Fish: Ugandan Town Crippled by AIDS

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) The village of Kasensero on the shores of Lake Victoria was where HIV-AIDS was first discovered in Uganda. Its transient population of fishermen and sex workers means the nationwide programme to combat the virus has had little impact. Duration: 02:30 Video provided by AFP
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