Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

BLAST off! Exploring the universe of biochemical reactions

Date:
January 13, 2014
Source:
European Bioinformatics Institute EMBL-EBI
Summary:
Scientists have developedEC-BLAST: software that makes it easier to develop novel enzymes. The program makes it possible to quickly compare the functions of thousands of catalysts, facilitating research into anything from drug interactions to the efficient production of biofuels.

EC-BLAST lets researchers compare enzymes according to their function, rather than their sequence.
Credit: European Bioinformatics Institute EMBL-EBI

Scientists at EMBL-EBI have developed EC-BLAST: software that makes it easier to develop novel enzymes. Published in Nature Methods, the program makes it possible to quickly compare the functions of thousands of catalysts, facilitating research into anything from drug interactions to the efficient production of biofuels.

Related Articles


Washing machines and cookers might look much the same, but they do very different things. Similarly, while enzymes may look very much alike, a biologist who needs to speed up a specific reaction would want to compare them according function, rather than sequence.

Enzymes are proteins that are involved in countless reactions, from breaking down cellulose to synthesizing DNA, and their functions depend on a very wide range of factors. Until now, comparing reactions was an arduous, manual process. The new EC-BLAST makes it possible to quickly compare a potentially useful enzyme against thousands of well-known reactions.

"If you are looking to swap one enzyme for another -- say to make cheese differently or to break down sugar cane into ethanol -- you would want to know exactly what reactions they are involved in, in which metabolic pathways," explains Professor Dame Janet Thornton. "EC-BLAST gives you a knowledge-based approach for this, because it combines everything we know about biological catalysis: where it is similar, where it is different, how enzymes have evolved and how they might continue to change. It really provides an overview of the world of biochemical reactions."

The computer scientists, chemists, biologist and physicist who developed EC-BLAST spent five years working through roadblocks to quantifying the comparison of enzymes already well described by the Enzyme Commission (EC). The interdisciplinary approach was vital to ensuring the final product was fit for purpose.

"EC-BLAST contains a series of algorithms that draw on a library that integrates our knowledge about structures, chemical transformations, bond changes, stereochemistry and other enzyme features," says Syed Asad Rahman, the computer scientist and programmer behind many of the algorithms. "We've basically created a binary fingerprint for these enzymes -- a kind of reaction profile -- that we hope will be very useful to people working in green biotech, drug discovery and many other areas."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Bioinformatics Institute EMBL-EBI. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Syed Asad Rahman, Sergio Martinez Cuesta, Nicholas Furnham, Gemma L Holliday, Janet M Thornton. EC-BLAST: a tool to automatically search and compare enzyme reactions. Nature Methods, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.2803

Cite This Page:

European Bioinformatics Institute EMBL-EBI. "BLAST off! Exploring the universe of biochemical reactions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140113100447.htm>.
European Bioinformatics Institute EMBL-EBI. (2014, January 13). BLAST off! Exploring the universe of biochemical reactions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140113100447.htm
European Bioinformatics Institute EMBL-EBI. "BLAST off! Exploring the universe of biochemical reactions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140113100447.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Students from Lund University's Malmo Academy of Music are believed to be the world's first band to all use 3D printed instruments. The guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and drums were built by Olaf Diegel, professor of product development, who says 3D printing allows musicians to design an instrument to their exact specifications. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 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