An Indiana University chemistry professor will share in a $1 million grant to study enzymes. The support from the Human Frontiers Science Program for Trevor Douglas also involves researchers from the Autonomous University in Spain and The University of Queensland in Australia.
To study the enzymes involved in a biological process called the isoprenoid pathway — which is involved in functions by plats and other organisms and used in manufacturing fragrances and biofuels — the researchers will use hollow protein structures to trap the enzymes so they can be studied more easily.
Douglas says "people have tried for a long time to use these enzymes industrially with limited success. The goal here is to take some of the key enzymes in the pathway and trap them inside the virus particle which will protect what’s inside. Putting these enzymes inside the capsids will likely make them work better and for much longer. Although we’re mostly interested in basic research questions, we chose these enzymes specifically because we want to conduct work on systems that are relevant — that affect people’s lives. We don’t want to produce new knowledge that’s going to be forgotten after it’s published."
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