Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New small-molecule catalyst does the work of many enzymes

Date:
October 3, 2013
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Researchers report that they have created a human-made catalyst that is an "enzyme mimic." Unlike most enzymes, which act on a single target, the new catalyst can alter the chemical profiles of numerous types of small molecules. The catalyst -- and others like it -- will greatly speed the process of drug discovery, the researchers say. Their findings appear in the Journal of the American Chemistry Society.

University of Illinois chemistry professor M. Christina White and graduate student Paul Gormisky developed a new catalyst that will help streamline the drug-discovery process.
Credit: L. Brian Stauffer

Researchers report that they have created a human-made catalyst that is an "enzyme mimic." Unlike most enzymes, which act on a single target, the new catalyst can alter the chemical profiles of numerous types of small molecules. The catalyst -- and others like it -- will greatly speed the process of drug discovery, the researchers say.

Their findings appear in the Journal of the American Chemistry Society.

Most enzymes are large proteins that act on only one molecular target, said University of Illinois chemistry professor M. Christina White, who conducted the study with graduate student Paul Gormisky. Enzymes generally modify the chemical profiles of their targets to dismantle them or to enable them to perform specific functions.

One key modification involves replacing a carbon-hydrogen (C-H) bond with a carbon-oxygen (C-O-H or C=O) bond. These reactions, called oxidations, are essential to countless processes in the body, from drug detoxification to biosynthesis.

The new catalyst can oxidize specific C-H bonds on many different targets. This will greatly streamline the process of modifying known molecules in new ways, a key part of drug discovery, White said.

"The main cost of drugs isn't making the drug, it's actually discovering the drug, in part because there aren't good ways to diversify molecules," she said. "So if you have one molecule of interest that you'd like to modify, you often have to resynthesize the whole thing. It's not efficient."

The other option is to develop a new enzyme for every modification you want to make, she said.

"Let's say someone in industry has some kind of medicinal compound and they want to oxidize it in a way that will give it a different or improved biological function," she said. "Currently, this may be accomplished either by using an enzyme that had been specifically engineered for that molecule, or, more commonly, through a long synthetic process that could take months to complete."

The new catalyst (called iron CF3-PDP) can accomplish one of these alterations in about half an hour, she said.

This catalyst and a previous one from White's lab (called iron PDP) have been designed to oxidize specific types of C-H bonds. Iron PDP goes after the most electron-rich C-H bond on a molecule, while the new catalyst targets the most electron-rich C-H bond that also is the least encumbered by nearby atoms.

The specificity of the new catalysts allows the researchers to use computational methods and modeling to predict which bonds the catalysts will alter, Gormisky said.

"The other breakthrough here is that this model could be very generally applicable not just to our catalysts, but this whole genre of catalysts that do C-H oxidations," White said.

The new catalyst has some limitations. It only oxidizes certain bonds on linear or cyclic molecules, and it doesn't work on aromatic rings.

"But with the two new catalysts you can quickly and efficiently oxidize up to two different sites on one molecule," she said. She and her colleagues hope to create "a whole toolbox of these things" to oxidize potentially any C-H bond on any molecule, she said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Paul E. Gormisky, M. Christina White. Catalyst-Controlled Aliphatic C–H Oxidations with a Predictive Model for Site-Selectivity. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2013; 135 (38): 14052 DOI: 10.1021/ja407388y

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "New small-molecule catalyst does the work of many enzymes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131003132233.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2013, October 3). New small-molecule catalyst does the work of many enzymes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131003132233.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "New small-molecule catalyst does the work of many enzymes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131003132233.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) If you've ever watched "Back to the Future Part II" and wanted to get your hands on a hoverboard, well, you might soon be in luck. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) British scientists have developed a prototype graphene paint that can make coatings which are resistant to liquids, gases, and chemicals. The team says the paint could have a variety of uses, from stopping ships rusting to keeping food fresher for longer. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Airlines Swanky New Plane

China Airlines Swanky New Plane

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) China Airlines debuted their new Boeing 777, and it's more like a swanky hotel bar than an airplane. Enjoy high-tea, a coffee bar, and a full service bar with cocktails and spirits, and lie-flat in your reclining seats. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. 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