In the human body, proteins called enzymes help speed up chemical reactions that are vital for life.
After you eat, enzymes help your body break down food and obtain energy. Enzymes are also responsible for helping your liver rid your body of toxins, as well as many other imperative functions.
Now, a University at Buffalo-led research team is studying the details of how enzymes perform their job. The focus of the project is on understanding the molecular interactions that enable enzymes to accelerate chemical reactions.
The new five-year $2 million Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (MIRA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), titled "Studies on enzyme activation and novel modes of inhibition," will allow the researchers to investigate a variety of problems related to the mechanism of enzyme action and inhibition.
The chemicals in living cells are stable until they need to undergo one of the many enzyme-catalyzed reactions that support and propagate life. Over the past century, scientists have made steady progress toward understanding the mechanism of action of enzymes, which are required to catalyze essentially every cellular reaction. This understanding has prompted advances on many fronts, including the development of interventions to cure metabolic diseases, the design of enzyme inhibitors with potential applications as drugs and the direct use of enzymes as therapeutic agents." John Richard, PhD, lead scientist, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Chemistry in the UB College of Arts and Sciences Related Stories
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