Proteins are organic compounds produced by living cells on the basis of information contained in the DEC, which ensure that the cell performs its basic functions. This mechanism has been perfected by nature throughout the evolutionary path of living organisms, but scientists still find opportunities for its improvement and improvement. Not so long ago, a group of researchers from the University of California at San Francisco and the University of Washington created a new artificial protein, which, when introduced into the cell, acts as a kind of switch that turns ordinary living cells into “smart cells” with a certain level of independence.
Various types of synthetic proteins have long been used in medicine. They became the basis for new methods of combating malaria, Alzheimer's disease, and synthetic protein enzymes are used as catalysts in creating completely new forms of artificial life. During the studies carried out by scientists from the above-mentioned scientific organizations, a new artificial protein was created that changes the functioning of the internal “circuits” of living cells, enabling them to perform new functions. Due to the presence of new functions, these cells become capable of sensing changes in their environment, producing and releasing a special peptide protein into this environment.
The new artificial protein is called LOCKR (Latching Orthogonal Cage / Key pRotein), it consists of several molecules, each of which plays its own role. Individual molecules can be characterized by the terms “trap”, “lock”, “key” and biologically active element (peptide), and it is precisely this protein structure that makes it especially unique.
When this complex protein “switch” is in the “off” position, the lock presses the peptide into a trap that interferes with the biological activity of the peptide. When this molecule is transferred to the active state under the influence of certain factors, the key part "unlocks" the lock and the active peptide is released into the environment. This leads to the fulfillment by the peptide of one or more functions programmed in it, which can be aimed at destroying other types of proteins, activation or deactivation of certain genes, etc.
The technology that uses the LOCKR protein is called degronLOCKR. The objective of this system is to suppress certain types of proteins produced by the cell in the event of abnormal cell function. Reducing the concentration levels of target proteins helps to restore normal cell activity, which, in turn, means that this "smart cell" can independently and automatically cope with its problems.
The first practical application of degronLOCKR technology will most likely be the fight against brain dysfunction as a result of an injury. When this happens, the body can react very sharply to too high levels of signals produced by the affected brain. Scientists hope that using degronLOCKR technology will allow you to adjust the levels of nerve signals, lowering them to a normal safe level, removing the risk of overloading the body from the occurrence of the associated negative consequences.
Artificial, Protein, LOCKR, Switch, Peptide, Function, Programming, Cell
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