Artificial intelligence creates proteins to hasten chemical reactions

Scientists have for the first time utilized machine learning to design whole new enzymes, which are proteins that quicken chemical reactions. In the realm of protein design, this is a crucial development since new enzymes can find several applications in both industrial manufacture and medicine.

Artificial intelligence creates proteins to hasten chemical reactions
An artist’s imaginative conception of the idea of light-emitting enzymes. Image Credit: Ian Haydon / Institute for Protein Design

Scientists have for the first time utilized machine learning to design whole new enzymes, which are proteins that quicken chemical reactions. In the realm of protein design, this is a crucial development since new enzymes can find several applications in both industrial manufacture and medicine.

David Baker, Study Senior Author and Professor, Biochemistry, University of Washington School of Medicine

Using machine learning techniques, a team at the Center for Protein Design at UW Medicine created luciferases, which are light-emitting enzymes, as was revealed on February 22nd, 2023, in the journal Nature.

The new enzymes’ ability to identify certain substances and emit light effectively has been demonstrated in laboratory tests. In the Baker Lab, Andy Hsien-Wei Yeh and Christoffer Norn, two postdoctoral researchers, were in charge of this experiment.

The scientists first chose which chemicals, known as luciferins, they wanted the proteins to act upon to produce new luciferase enzymes. They then created tens of thousands of potential protein structures using software that could interact with those chemicals.

While testing in the lab, the researchers discovered an effective enzyme they named LuxSit (Let there be light). The desired chemical reaction was carried out by the enzyme. The performance of the enzyme was substantially enhanced.

An enhanced enzyme known as LuxSit-i produced enough light to be seen with the naked eye. The glowing sea pansy Renilla reniformis was found to have a natural luciferase enzyme, but this one was proven to be brighter.

We were able to design very efficient enzymes from scratch on the computer, as opposed to relying on enzymes found in nature. This breakthrough means that custom enzymes for almost any chemical reaction could, in principle, be designed.

Andy Hsien-Wei Yeh, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Washington School of Medicine

Biotechnology, medicine, environmental remediation, and manufacturing could all benefit from new enzymes. Enzymes, for instance, can enhance the creation of pharmaceuticals, food processing, and biofuel. Enzymes can be used in medicine as both therapeutic and diagnostic substances.

By removing contaminants from the environment or sanitizing polluted areas, enzyme design can benefit the environment. Moreover, enzymes could help in the creation of new materials like biodegradable plastics and adhesives.

Source:
Journal reference:

Hsien-Wei Yeh, A., et al. (2023). De novo design of luciferases using deep learning. Nature. doi.org/10.1038/s41586-023-05696-3

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of AZoLifeSciences.
Post a new comment
Post

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
AI's Impact on Protein Function Prediction Revealed