New type of genomic screening developed to produce novel drugs

Prof. Dr Mikhail Yakimov, a researcher from the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, together with his colleagues from the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Norwegian Research Centre NORCE AS, School of Natural Sciences of CEU San Pablo University and Institute of Catalysis and Petrochemistry in Madrid (Spain), has conducted a study of universal transaminase enzymes. These ferments are involved in cellular metabolism and they also play a key role in construction of building blocks of cells.

Different chemical substances, which are used in drugs, should have a special property that is necessary for the most important molecular compounds of human body. This property is called chirality, and it is based on molecular symmetry elements. Chirality of a compound can differ from its chemical formula. There are only D-sugars and L-amino acids and no D-amino acids in human body.

The researchers have found out that transaminases are the enzymes, which can synthesize the compounds with special chirality. Today, there are many ways to detect transaminases of different chemical compositions.

Recently, a new approach for genomic and metagenomic screening has been developed. The researchers have identified 10 genes, which encode transaminases.

According to the results of the study, an article under the title 'Bioprospecting reveals class III ω-transaminases converting bulky ketones and environmentally relevant polyamines' was published in an authoritative scientific journal 'Applied and Environmental Microbiology'.

Prof. Dr Mikhail Yakimov (IKBFU):

Our research can help future bioprospecting and genetic engineering programmes to identify and produce class III ω-transaminases.

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