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3-D ‘Map’ of Enzyme Completed by MU Scientists Could Lead to More Effective Drugs

May 19, 2014

John Tanner, a professor in the MU Department of Biochemistry, completed a 3-D map of an enzyme called Proline utilization A, which facilitates metabolism by adding oxygen to molecules. This map will help scientists understand the function of the enzyme and aid in the development of more effective drugs. 

Story By: MU News Bureau 

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The human body is full of proteins called enzymes that help nearly every function in the body. Scientists have been studying enzymes for decades in order to learn how they work and how to create better drugs and medical treatments for many ailments. Now, University of Missouri researchers have completed a 3-D map of an enzyme called Proline utilization A (PutA). PutA facilitates metabolism by adding oxygen to molecules. John Tanner, a professor in the MU Department of Biochemistry, says mapping this enzyme will give researchers a better understanding of its function, which could help drug manufacturers create more effective drugs.

“PutA is actually two enzymes fused together to make its processing more efficient,” Tanner said. “Now that we have an understanding about how PutA is constructed, we can study exactly how it works. Some dangerous bacteria, such as h. pylori, which infect stomach tissue, utilize the PutA enzyme to grow. Discovering the structure of this enzyme will provide valuable insight into how this protein functions and could provide blueprints for designing drugs that inhibit or increase certain protein functions, which would make those drugs more effective.” MORE…