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Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences
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Molecule of the Month: Polyhydroxybutyrate Synthase

Molecule of the Month: Polyhydroxybutyrate Synthase | iBB | Scoop.it

Some bacteria store fuel molecules in granules of plastic. When starved of nutrients, these bacteria make a lot of this plastic, sometimes building granules 80 times heavier than their dry weight. This is perfect for the biotech industry, since it allows easy production of large amounts. Bacteria rely on the enzyme polyhydroxybutyrate synthase to construct the plastic chain from small hydroxybutyrate building blocks. 


Credit: The RCSB PDB Molecule of the Month by David S. Goodsell (The Scripps Research Institute and the RCSB PDB) presents short accounts on selected molecules from the Protein Data Bank (NAR, 28, 2000, 235–242).

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Molecule of the Month: Chimeric Antigen Receptors

Molecule of the Month: Chimeric Antigen Receptors | iBB | Scoop.it

Chimeric antigen receptors are built by connecting several functional parts from different proteins, each with a specific job. A single-chain antibody variable fragment (Fv) recognizes a known cancer cell protein, targeting the tumor. These are generally engineered from monoclonal antibodies by using only the domains at the tip of the antibody, and connecting the two chains with a flexible linker. The antibody portion is connected to a transmembrane segment with another flexible linker. Inside the cell, one or more domains are taken from signaling proteins, which will activate the T cell once it finds a tumor cell. Click title and learn more.


Credit: The RCSB PDB Molecule of the Month by David S. Goodsell (The Scripps Research Institute and the RCSB PDB) presents short accounts on selected molecules from the Protein Data Bank (NAR, 28, 2000, 235–242).

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Molecule of the Month: Aspartate Transcarbamoylase

Molecule of the Month: Aspartate Transcarbamoylase | iBB | Scoop.it

Cells often use assembly lines to create essential molecules like amino acids and nucleotides. An ordered pathway of enzymes work together, each making a specific chemical change to construct complex molecules from available starting materials. Aspartate transcarbamylase (ATCase) performs an early step in the production of pyrimidine rings, which are used to build nucleotides in DNA and RNA.  Based on biochemical data, researchers proposed a model with two states: a “tense” T state that is inactive, and a “relaxed” R state that can perform the reaction. The structure revealed that ATCase is a large complex, with six catalytic chains arranged in the center, surrounded by three pairs of regulatory chains. 


Credit: The RCSB PDB Molecule of the Month by David S. Goodsell (The Scripps Research Institute and the RCSB PDB) presents short accounts on selected molecules from the Protein Data Bank (NAR, 28, 2000, 235–242).

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