Enzymes are used extensively every day. Like small soldiers, enzymes in washing powder work to destroy fat stains from clothes, just as they’re used to turn straw into bioethanol or act as miniature pharmaceutical factories.
Now, researchers from the University of Copenhagen’s Division of Chemistry have found a method to monitor enzyme workflows. Their results have been revealed in Scientific Reports.
Søren Schmidt-Rasmussen Bohr explains that being able to monitor enzymes and map their workweek makes it attainable to target the amino acid composition of enzymes, which instantly controls their function.
Enzyme design is a space of analysis that has attracted immense international curiosity. So much so, that last year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded for the focused optimization of enzymes.
With an understanding of how various amino acids in enzymes work, one can start to customize enzymes and make them far simpler. Some of the more evident examples include the design of enzymes that more effectively turn straw into biofuels as well as models that cut back the concentration of enzymes in washing powders, where some effective leftovers turn tough enough to get the job done.
The researchers have mixed a method often called “Single Particle Tracking,” whereby the position and pace of enzymes are observed, with advanced data processing that can predict how long proteins are at work and pause. In follow, advanced fluorescence microscopy is used to zoom in on the nanoscale and observe the actions of separate enzymes.
After that, statistical models are deployed to find out what the enzymes are up to as they move over and come across fats.