Could New Discovery About A Shape-shifting Protein Lead To A Mighty 'Morpheein' Bacteria Fighter?

Friday, June 20, 2008 - 12:28 in Biology & Nature

A small molecule that locks an essential enzyme in an inactive form could one day form the basis of a new class of unbeatable, species-specific drugs, including antibiotics. PBGS, an enzyme used by nearly all cellular life, is a morpheein -- a molecule that spontaneously "shape-shifts," -- turning from an active octamer (eight part) protein to a hexamer (six part). Morphlock stabilizes the hexamer, thereby turning off the enzyme.

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