3D 'map' of enzymes may lead to effective drugs
Understanding enzymes better could be a key way of devising effective drug designs for various ailments and researchers have now completed a 3D map of an enzyme called Proline utilization A (PutA).
The human body is full of proteins called enzymes that help nearly every function in the body.
PutA facilitates metabolism by adding oxygen to molecules.
Mapping this enzyme would give researchers a better understanding of its function, which could help drug manufacturers create more effective drugs, said John Tanner, a professor at the University of Missouri in the US.
The researchers mapped the enzyme by using a process called protein crystallography.
This process involves growing microscopic crystals made of PutA enzymes.
The protein crystals were exposed to a high-powered X-ray device called a "beamline."
The beamline device is one of only five in the world and is the size of a football field.
The beamline captures X-rays, focuses them on protein crystals, and records the beams that reflect or "diffract" off the crystals.
Researchers decoded the diffraction patterns from his crystals to understand the precise arrangement of the atoms in the protein and created a 3D "map" of the PutA enzyme.
"PutA is actually two enzymes fused together to make its processing more efficient," Tanner noted.
Some dangerous bacteria, such as h. pylori, which infect stomach tissue, utilise the PutA enzyme to grow.
(Posted on 14-05-2014)