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Russian and Israeli Chemists Know How to Restore Proteins to Life
May 29, 2017 09:59

Renaturation of enzyme mixtures is a unique process, which no one has ever done before. This will simplify production and reduce the cost of drugs for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, scientists say.
Scientists from the Saint Petersburg National Research University of Information Technology, Mechanics and Optics and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem have found a way to restore the structure of the protein after chemical denaturation.
The press service of the ITMO reports about it. The metod, developed by scientists, will make the manufacture of drugs for Alzheimer's or Parkinson's diseases cheaper. The results of the research are published in the Scientific Reports journal.
"Our method is able to simplify the production and reduce the cost of drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, because lots of these drugs are protein-based," - Katerina Volodina, one of the authors of the study is cited in the press release.

Challenge of Restoring Proteins
The proteins, in particular the enzymes that accelerate chemical reactions, are the basis of pharmaceutical and food industries. The protein molecules have a very complex spatial structure, and their ability to perform their functions is directly related to their shape. Under the influence of deleterious substance or high temperature they get denatured: the natural shape of the protein is disrupted and it loses its properties. This is what happens to egg albumin, for instance, which becomes dense and opaque when heated. In chemical production of enzymes about 80 percent of the product is denatured proteins, therefore, the industry needs a way to restore the structure of proteins, that is, renaturalize them and significantly reduce the cost of their production, thereby reducing losses.
Theoretically, this is possible, but difficult to achieve in practice. In 2015, American chemists restored the structure of albumen that destroyed with thermal denaturation and received the Ig Nobel Prize for it. However, it was still not possible to effectively renature the proteins on an industrial scale.

A Promising Method
Russian chemists together with foreign colleagues have developed a method of restoring the protein molecules’ structure after denaturation. The method is based on the use of aluminum oxyhydroxide nanoparticles that interact with denatured proteins and generate a supramolecular complex with them, not chemically but physically. The protective nanoparticle shell prevented the protein molecules from adhering, or aggregating, thus having enabled scientists to extract enzymes from the unfavorable medium quite easily. Once the residues of denaturing substances were washed away, the enzymes self-restored their structure: "Constant impact of denaturing agents and the tendency of coagulated macromolecules to aggregate are some of the main obstacles to restoring proteins.
"By removing these factors, we managed to restore our objects," - Katerina Volodina said. "Renaturation of enzyme mixtures is a unique process, which no one has ever done before. My colleagues and I believe that the work in this direction will be of interest to pharmaceutical companies”, - she concluded.



Author: Vera Ivanova


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