Engineering Improved P450 Enzyme to open New Biotech Applications

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In a recent study performed by UT Biochemistry, researchers analyzed an enzyme called Cytpchrome P450. This enzyme is produced in the body naturally and is very crucial in metabolizing more than 90% of all the medicines. One of the researchers who authored the study stated that in the near future, with the help of improved engineered versions of P450 enzymes, it will be possible to design drugs with better efficacy and make them more cost-effective too. The enzyme is essentially a molecule meant to accelerate the chemical reactions inside human body and plays an important role such as converting sugar to glucose and effective fat digestion.

A UT researcher involved in the study explains that one of the important features of P450 is to ensure that the leftover drug consumed by human body is excreted safely, as the drug once administered, is not used by the entire body. In addition to this, P450 is reliable and stable under high temperature. This enzyme has been found in volcanic residues after volcanic eruptions and has been operating normally. Furthermore, the researchers found that the reactions produced by P450 enzyme are found to be more useful and efficient at the time of increasing temperatures. The authors of the study observed that the heating tolerance of P450 enzyme is due to its rigid structure. Hence, the researchers opine that scientists need to understand the relationship between high temperature and flexibility, in order to develop an improved version of P450 enzyme that can target biotechnology applications and drug designing.

Search for Enzymes with Similar Flexibility to help in Developing Better Therapeutics

In order to understand the link between flexibility and high temperature, UT researchers collected a bacteria called thermophilic, the ones that survive at a temperature ranging from 106 to 262 Fahrenheit and then isolated the P450 enzyme. This enzyme was then exposed to two main techniques used in magnetism, called neutron scattering and spectroscopy.

One of the authors opine that there can be enzymes with similar flexibility and stability as P450 enzyme, but at a higher temperate range. Expanding our understanding on them will likely pave way for better therapeutics.