Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University

Professor from IKBFU Develops New Type of Genomic Screening to Discover Novel Drugs

Professor from IKBFU Develops New Type of Genomic Screening to Discover Novel Drugs
29 January 2019

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

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. It is remarkable that 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.

The research team has developed a new approach for genomic and metagenomic screening. It has already helped to identify 10 genes, which encode transaminases.

The results of the study were reported in an authoritative scientific journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Full paper title: ‘Bioprospecting reveals class III ω-transaminases converting bulky ketones and environmentally relevant polyamines’.

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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