Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Gateway enzyme for chemicals from catnip to cancer drug

November 26, 2012
Scientists have discovered an enzyme used in nature to make powerful chemicals from catnip to a cancer drug, vinblastine. The discovery opens up the prospect of producing these chemicals cheaply and efficiently.

They are produced naturally by some plants such as the medicinal Madagascar periwinkle, but faster-growing plants could be used to produce them. With synthetic biology, improvements could also be made to them.

The study, to be published in Nature on Thursday, was led by scientists from the John Innes Centre, an institute on Norwich Research Park strategically funded by BBSRC.

"Thousands of chemicals are derived from the enzyme we have called iridoid synthase," says senior author Dr Sarah O'Connor from the JIC and the University of East Anglia.

"We can start to use it to come up with new-to-nature structures with biological activity of benefit to both medicine and agriculture."

Many aphids, often important agricultural pests, produce sex pheromone chemicals that are identical to or that closely resemble the iridoid synthase product. Strategic use of these iridoid chemicals could be used to disrupt the aphids' breeding cycle or to repel them from crops.

The anticancer ingredient vinblastine sulphate is currently derived from the Madagascar periwinkle plant. The iridoid synthase is an essential step in the production of this compound. But vinblastine is produced in just very low levels and the drug has many side effects. The hope is to find a way to produce it more cheaply, easily and with a chemical structure that lessens side effects.

"We need to identify more enzymes to see the entire pathway used in nature to make this potent compound," said Dr O'Connor.

"But the enzyme we have discovered is also the basic scaffold for many other iridoid chemicals and we can start to experiment with building new chemical structures with biological activity."

The backbone of all iridoids consists of two fused rings and scientists have been trying to track down what makes this ring system. Experiments showed that iridoid synthase is the enzyme responsible.

Scientists already knew the enzyme preceeding iridoid synthase and how the gene encoding it is expressed. The lead author, Dr Fernando Geu-Flores from JIC, therefore looked for enzymes that are encoded by genes expressed in a similar way and narrowed down their search to 20 enzymes.

Research published in the 1980s indicated that the missing enzyme is dependent on a particular compound called NADPH, which narrowed the search down to two enzymes.

O'Connor and her co-workers will also investigate whether the enzyme is important in a simple chemical reaction used by chemists for nearly 100 years. Scientists are trying to identify which enzymes catalyse a reaction called the Diels-Alder reaction, named after the Nobel prize-winning scientists who discovered it. A better understanding of how the iridoid synthase works could open up new ways to make pharmaceutical compounds using synthetic biology.

Norwich BioScience Institutes


Related Enzyme Current Events and Enzyme News Articles


Sharks that hide in coral reefs may be safe from acidifying oceans
A study published online today in the journal Conservation Physiology has shown that the epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) displays physiological tolerance to elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) in its environment after being exposed to CO2 levels equivalent to those that are predicted for their natural habitats in the near future.

Researchers look to exploit females' natural resistance to infection
Researchers have linked increased resistance to bacterial pneumonia in female mice to an enzyme activated by the female sex hormone estrogen.

Scientists Map Key Moment in Assembly of DNA-Splitting Molecular Machine
The proteins that drive DNA replication-the force behind cellular growth and reproduction-are some of the most complex machines on Earth. The multistep replication process involves hundreds of atomic-scale moving parts that rapidly interact and transform.

Researchers identify potential drug that could help treat cystic fibrosis
By screening over 2,000 approved drugs and natural products, scientists have shown that tannic acid may help ease the impact of bacterial lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients.

Women with high blood pressure get different treatment to men
Women who are treated for high blood pressure are not given the same medication as men, nor do they hit the treatment targets as often, reveals a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy.

Common gene variants linked to delayed healing of bone fractures
Slow-healing or non-healing bone fractures in otherwise healthy people may be caused by gene variants that are common in the population, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Two-faced gene: SIRT6 prevents some cancers but promotes sun-induced skin cancer
A new study published in Cancer Research shows SIRT6-a protein known to inhibit the growth of liver and colon cancers-can promote the development of skin cancers by turning on an enzyme that increases inflammation, proliferation and survival of sun-damaged skin cells.

An enzyme and synaptic plasticity
A small, "empty" space teeming with activity: a synapse is a complex structure where the neural (electrical) signal from the presynaptic neuron, as it travels towards its target -a muscle, a gland or another neuron - turns into a chemical signal capable of crossing the synaptic space before becoming electrical again once on the other side.

Novel culture system replicates course of Alzheimer's disease, confirms amyloid hypothesis
An innovative laboratory culture system has succeeded, for the first time, in reproducing the full course of events underlying the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Atomic map reveals clues to how cholesterol is made
In spite of its dangerous reputation, cholesterol is in fact an essential component of human cells. Manufactured by the cells themselves, it serves to stiffen the cell's membrane, helping to shape the cell and protect it.
More Enzyme Current Events and Enzyme News Articles

The Enzyme Factor

The Enzyme Factor
by Hiromi Shinya MD (Author)


In The Enzyme Factor, Dr. Hiromi Shinya presents his research, grounded in his 45 years of medical practice in the United States and Japan. This research supports the idea of a miracle enzyme out of which all the enzymes the body needs are produced. He suggests cancer and other diseases occur when this key enzyme is depleted and cannot properly do its job. In this book he clearly shows how what we eat affects that key. Dr. Shinya's science is clearly explained and easy to understand. The suggestions for diet and lifestyle based on this science are simple and easy to follow. Even those who think they know everything about how to eat right will be surprised when they discover what is really healthy.



This simple health regime has led hundreds of his patients, many suffering...

Enzymes: The Missing Link to Health

Enzymes: The Missing Link to Health
by Susan M. Lark M.D. (Author)


Do you want relief from colds and flus, allergies, autoimmune disease, heart disease and many other major health issues? Would you like to enjoy a high level of energy and vitality and great resistance to disease? Then Enzymes: The Missing Link to Health is a must read book for you. Written by Susan M. Lark, M.D., one of the most renowned women’s alternative medicine experts, this comprehensive guide will help to support and restore your own enzyme production for excellent health. Abundant enzyme production plays a crucial role in protecting and helping us recover from inflammatory diseases, infections, autoimmune conditions, injuries, heart disease and even cancer. It is also essential in helping us recover from accidents, injuries and even surgical and dental procedures. Not only...

Enzyme Nutrition

Enzyme Nutrition
by Dr. Edward Howell (Author)


Why is eating food in its natural state, unprocessed and unrefined, so vital to the maintenance of good health? What is lacking in our modern diet that makes us so susceptible to degenerative disease? What natural elements in food may play a key role in unlocking the secrets of life extension? These fascinating questions, and many more, are answered in Enzyme Nutrition.
Written by one of America’s pioneering biochemists and nutrition researchers, Dr. Edward Howell, Enzyme Nutrition presents the most vital nutritional discovery since that of vitamins and minerals—food enzymes. Our digestive organs produce some enzymes internally, however food enzymes are necessary for optimal health and must come from uncooked foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, raw sprouted grains,...

Enzymes & Enzyme Therapy : How to Jump-Start Your Way to Lifelong Good Health

Enzymes & Enzyme Therapy : How to Jump-Start Your Way to Lifelong Good Health
by Anthony Cichoke (Author), Abram Hoffer MD (Author), Anthony J. Cichoke DC (Author)


Enzymes--living substances that regulate health--work with certain minerals in our bodies to form an antioxidant system that fights corrosive free radicals. This fully updated second edition explains how to make the most of this amazing natural partnership to speed recovery from injury and lessen the effects of back pain, multiple sclerosis, viruses, and fatigue.

Enzymes: The Key to Health, Vol. 1 (The Fundamentals)

Enzymes: The Key to Health, Vol. 1 (The Fundamentals)
by Howard F., Jr. Loomis (Author)


Book annotation not available for this title.
Title: Enzymes
Author: Loomis, Howard F., Jr.
Publisher: Enzyme Formulations Inc
Publication Date: 2005/08/01
Number of Pages: 192
Binding Type: PAPERBACK
Library of Congress: oc2007036246

Enzymes for Autism and Other Neurological Conditions

Enzymes for Autism and Other Neurological Conditions
by Thundersnow Interactive


Enzyme therapy is one of the fastest emerging successful alternatives for people on the autism spectrum as well as other neurological conditions. Reports of significant improvement in health, pain reduction, language, food tolerance, socializing and other benefits emerge daily. Drawing on long-standing scientific research and trials by a wide range of families, Karen DeFelice deals comprehensively with all the information on enzymes that parents or those new to enzymes need: how enzymes work, who may benefit, what to expect, practical tested advice on selecting and introducing the right kind of enzymes, and how this can be combined with other approaches and therapies.

Enzyme Factor 2

Enzyme Factor 2
by Hiromi Shinya (Author)


In The Enzyme Factor 2 Dr Hiromi Shinya again turns his visionary genius to the power of enzymes to cure and restore. He provides compelling evidence for ways to obtain a healthy heart and youthful body. In Enzyme Factor 2 Dr Shinya tells how to reverse again, stop Alzheimers, and prevent diabetes. He explains how to rejuvenate your sex life naturally.

Enzymes: What the Experts Know

Enzymes: What the Experts Know
by Tom Bohager (Author)


This book throughly describes the role of Enzymes Therapy in restoring, promoting and maintaing optimal health. The topics covered in depth are as follows; Definition of what an Enzyme is, the 4 types, the history of enzyme therapy, animal vs plant-based enzyme therapy, the digestive system, the use of therapeutic enzymes, specific enzymes in therapy, determining enzyme potency, proper pH, the microlflora (bacteria) connection, the immune system, physical fitness, choosing the correct supplement, enzyme deficiency testing, proteases and their effect on probiotics and a discussion of glucoreductase

Enzymes for Autism and Other Neurological Conditions (Updated Third Edition)

Enzymes for Autism and Other Neurological Conditions (Updated Third Edition)
by Karen DeFelice (Author)


Enzyme therapy is one of the fastest emerging successful alternatives for people on the autism spectrum as well as other neurological conditions. Reports of significant improvement in health, pain reduction, language, food tolerance, socializing and other benefits emerge daily. Drawing on long-standing scientific research and trials by a wide range of families, Karen DeFelice deals comprehensively with all the information on enzymes that parents or those new to enzymes need: how enzymes work, who may benefit, what to expect, practical tested advice on selecting and introducing the right kind of enzymes, and how this can be combined with other approaches and therapies.

© 2014 BrightSurf.com