Nature's chem lab: How microorganisms manufacture drugs


By Jim Erickson
Jun 23, 2014 Bookmark and Share

Cryo-EM structure

Cryo-EM structure of the central enzyme in the assembly process that creates polyketides, a broad class of diverse and bioactive chemical compounds that comprise some of the most important antibiotics, antifungal agents, cancer chemotherapeutics and immunomodulators in wide clinical use, with the acyl carrier protein protein (ACP) in orange.

Researchers at the University of Michigan have obtained the first three-dimensional snapshots of the "assembly line" within microorganisms that naturally produces antibiotics and other drugs.

Understanding the complete structure and movement within the molecular factory gives investigators a solid blueprint for redesigning the microbial assembly line to produce novel drugs of high medicinal value.

In a pair of articles scheduled for online publication June 18 in Nature, Georgios Skiniotis, David Sherman and Janet Smith of the Life Sciences Institute and Kristina HÃ¥kansson of the Department Chemistry describe the structure of a central enzyme in the assembly process that creates polyketides, a broad class of diverse and bioactive chemical compounds that comprises some of the most important antibiotics, antifungal agents, cancer chemotherapeutics and immunomodulators in wide clinical use.

Read More and see the video on the UM News site