In a breakthrough that could lead to a new class of materials with functions found only in living systems, scientists at the UC Berkeley have figured out a way to keep certain proteins active outside of the cell. The researchers used this technology to create mats that can soak up and trap chemical pollution.
Despite years of effort to stabilize proteins outside of their native environments, scientists have made limited progress in combining proteins with synthetic components like fibers without compromising protein activity. The new study shows a path toward exploiting the power of proteins outside of the cell by demonstrating a unique way to keep proteins active in synthetic environments. The materials presented in the study could enable on-demand biochemical reactions, such as in war zones or contaminated sites, where they were once not feasible.
“We think we’ve cracked the code for interfacing natural and synthetic systems,” said study author Ting Xu, a Berkeley professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Chemistry, whose lab led the work. The study was published in the March 16 issue of the journal Science.
The problem with proteins is that they are finicky. Remove them from their native environments and they will likely fall apart. To function properly, proteins must fold into a specific structure, often with the help of other proteins. To overcome this challenge, Xu’s lab analyzed trends in protein sequences and surfaces to see if they could develop a synthetic polymer that provides all the things that a protein would need to keep its structure and function.
“Proteins have very well-defined statistical pattern, so if you can mimic that pattern, then you can marry the synthetic and natural systems, which allows us to make these materials,” said the study’s first author Brian Panganiban, a former graduate student in Xu’s lab who is now a chemist at PolyDrop, a Seattle-based chemical company.
The researchers then created random heteropolymers, which they call RHPs. RHPs are composed of four types of monomer subunits, each with chemical properties designed to interact with chemical patches on the surface of proteins of interest. The monomers are connected to mimic a natural protein to maximize the flexibility of their interactions with protein surfaces.
The researchers at Northwestern University ran extensive molecular simulations to show that the RHP would interact favorably with protein surfaces, leading to correct protein folding and stability outside of the cell.
The researchers then tested whether they can use an RHP to create protein-based materials for bioremediation of toxic chemicals, which they were funded to do by the Department of Defense. The researchers mixed RHP with a protein called organophosphorus hydrolase (OPH), which degrades the toxic organophosphates found in insecticides and chemical warfare agents.
The researchers used the RHP/OPH combination to make fiber mats, submersed the mats in a well-known insecticide and found that the mats degraded an amount of insecticide weighing approximately one-tenth of the total fiber mat in just a few minutes. This opens the door to the creation of larger mats that could soak up toxic chemicals in places like war zones.
Their approach should be applicable to other enzymes and other materials, Xu said, opening the door to the creation of portable chemistry labs for solving different environmental problems.
The Latest on: Portable chemistry labs
via Google News
The Latest on: Portable chemistry labs
- Aliro Democratizes Quantum Computing By Making It Accessible To Any Developeron September 18, 2019 at 6:00 am
BOSTON--(Business Wire)--Aliro Technologies, a software company focused on providing a portable, hardware-agnostic ... The company was spun out of Harvard’s quantum computing lab, co-founded by Prof.
- True Diagnostics™ and Veravas, Inc. Announce Strategic Alliance in the Commercialization of VeraTest Biotin™on September 11, 2019 at 12:55 am
The collaboration, recently announced at the 71st Annual American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) meeting in Anaheim ... that biotin can significantly interfere with certain lab tests and ...
- ABAXIS Piccolo Xpress Chemistry Analyzer For Saleon September 8, 2019 at 1:44 pm
Is very compact, and portable clinic system to use on the place of the patient. Industry leader in used & refurbished laboratory instruments & analyzers. We buy & sell hematology, ...
- Portable Oxygen Concentratorson September 5, 2019 at 1:32 pm
From storing oxygen in tanks to portable oxygen concentrators that you can use in ... Using knowledge gathered from his communications with both Scheele and Priestly, Lavoisier set up experiments with ...
- Officials used ‘rapid DNA’ tech to identify California boat fire victimson September 5, 2019 at 6:49 am
“Rapid DNA testing refers to completely automated testing of DNA, testing samples in less than two hours using portable ... a lab on a block of plastic that uses the same basic chemistry ...
- True Diagnostics, Veravas enter strategic alliance to commercialize portable digital qualitative test, VeraTest Biotinon September 5, 2019 at 4:30 am
True Diagnostics, Inc. (True), a leading company for Point of Care (POC) answers, and Veravas, an emerging diagnostic company, announced a strategic alliance for commercialization of VeraTest Biotin, ...
- State-of-the-art military tech -- 'rapid DNA' -- is used to ID victims of California dive boat fireon September 4, 2019 at 3:50 pm
“Rapid DNA testing refers to completely automated testing of DNA, testing samples in less than two hours using portable ‘all-in ... “It’s basically a lab on a block of plastic that uses the same basic ...
- China ‘can transform the war on drugs’ with ultra-fast portable detectoron August 25, 2019 at 9:18 am
China has deployed a portable drug detector at some border checkpoints that ... such work is normally carried out in a well-equipped laboratory, taking hours or even days, but the new equipment could ...
- Wearable tech moves brain monitoring from lab to real worldon August 21, 2019 at 6:26 am
The device, a portable electroencephalogram (EEG), is ... During the spring of 2019, a team led by Platt Labs postdoc Scott Rennie worked with Penn Rowing to study group chemistry, trust, ...
via Bing News