Enzymes Aid in Producing Cost-Effective Drugs

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Researchers isolated enzymes by spectroscopy and neutron scattering to make effective and efficient drugs at low cost.

Enzymes help in speeding chemical reactions inside cells. Thousands of enzymes are present inside our body undergoing different functions such as the digestion of fat and the breakdown of sugar into glucose. The scientists studying enzymes found that it could be used to design and develop effective and efficient drugs at low prices in the near future. The findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on October 23, 2018.

The researchers focused on Cytochrome P450, an enzyme that occurs naturally in the body and other environments. According to the researchers, Cytochrome P450 is critical in metabolizing over 90 percent of all pharmaceutical drugs.

Sara Lemmonds, student at UT Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology and co-author of the study, said, “When a drug is administered, it is usually not used up entirely by the body, and the residual excess can become toxic. It is P450’s job to bind with the leftover drug in the liver to ensure that it is safely excreted.”

P450 is found in bacteria in hot springs and volcanic deposits and is known for maintaining stability at extreme high temperatures. The researchers found that chemical reactions produced by human P450 enzymes are more efficient when they occur at increasing temperatures.

“By better understanding the relationship between flexibility and high temperature, scientists can engineer improved P450 enzymes targeted at biotechnology applications and designing better drugs for humans, producing them en masse and making them more cost effective,” said Nitin Jain, Associate Professor UT Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology and co-author of the study.

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