Navigation Links
Defending against chemical acts of terrorism
Date:4/20/2012

Researchers may have found a way to protect us against otherwise deadly chemical attacks, such as the subway sarin incident in Tokyo that left thirteen people dead and thousands more injured or with temporary vision problems. The method is based on a new and improved version of a detoxifying enzyme produced naturally by our livers, according to the report in the April 2012 issue of Chemistry & Biology, a Cell Press publication.

"The sarin attack in Tokyo in 1995 demonstrated that both the raw materials and know-how of producing deadly nerve agents are available to people outside government or military institutions," said Moshe Goldsmith of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. "We hope that our work would provide a prophylactic drug that will effectively protect the medical, police, and other teams that will have to act in a contaminated area following such an attack and would also provide these teams with a drug that could be administered on-site to intoxicated individuals to greatly improve their chances of survival."

Today, protection against nerve agents relies primarily on physical barriers such as gas masks and protective suits that can easily be breached, Goldsmith explained. Following exposure, people are treated with drugs that help with the symptoms but don't eliminate the nerve agent.

Goldsmith and the study's senior author Dan Tawfik hope to change this, relying on the principles of evolution to produce a more efficient version of an enzyme that occurs naturally in all of us. Known as paraoxonase 1 (PON1), this enzyme was originally named for its ability to assist in the breakdown of the insecticide paraoxon. It is also involved in drug metabolism and detoxification.

PON1 normally does counteract G-type nerve agents, including sarin, tabun, soman, and cyclosarin, but not well enough. Tawfik's lab specializes in a technique called "directed enzyme evolution,"in which they artificially introduce mutations into the gene encoding a target enzyme, in this case PON1. The mutated versions of the gene are then put back into bacteria, which produce the enzymes for testing. The goal was to end up with enzymes capable of detoxifying G-type nerve agents before those nerve agents could reach their target and cause harm. Those that passed the initial test went on to further rounds of evolution and testing.

After four rounds of evolution, the researchers obtained PON1 variants that worked up to 340 times better than those produced previously. Overall, the researches reported that the PON1 variants showed 40- to 3,400-fold higher efficiency than the normal enzyme in metabolizing the three most toxic G-type nerve agents.

These new and improved PON1 enzymes have become promising candidates for use as preventive and postexposure treatments in the event of a terrorist attack.

"We hope that our enzymes would be able to act together with currently available drugs to improve survival rates following intoxication," Goldsmith said. More broadly, the findings show the power of laboratory evolution to completely reshape existing enzymes for a variety of uses.


'/>"/>

Contact: Elisabeth (Lisa) Lyons
elyons@cell.com
617-386-2121
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. 3M Withdraws Blackmail Claims Against Harvey Boulter From New York Court
2. Nanosurgery and the fight against cancer: Major breakthrough at Polytechnique Montral
3. Synergy Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Files Suit Against Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and its Chief Scientific Officer and Senior VP of R&D, Dr. Mark G. Currie
4. MU researchers identify key plant immune response in fight against bacteria
5. Fox Insurance Company Awarded $3.3 Million in Arbitration Against Former Pharmacy Benefit Manager
6. Stemline Therapeutics, Inc. Announces Two Poster Presentations of SL-401 Efficacy Data Against Lymphoid Cancers at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH)
7. Taksta™ (fusidic acid) Demonstrates Activity Against MRSA Isolated From Cystic Fibrosis Patients
8. SomaGenics sshRNA Technology Demonstrates Efficacy of RNAi Against Hepatitis C Virus
9. Kelly Price Joins Los Angeles County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure in the Fight Against Breast Cancer
10. World Hepatitis Alliance Warns that Stigma is a Major Threat to New Initiative Against Hepatitis Epidemic
11. Trudeau Institute announces a discovery in the fight against sepsis
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... ... specialists DST Diagnostische Systeme & Technologien GmbH, thereby expanding its product portfolio to ... from hay fever, urticaria, asthma, atopic eczema or a food allergy. Allergies are ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... Frederick, MD (PRWEB) , ... June 22, 2017 ... ... software solutions provider, announced the release of Limfinity® version 6.5, a content-packed update ... Limfinity® framework continue to gain a larger and more diverse base of customers ...
(Date:6/20/2017)... Pa. , June 20, 2017  Kibow Biotech ... pleased to announce the issuance of a new patent ... or hyperuricemia by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ... a winner of the Buzz of Bio award in ... is akin to developing non-drug approaches to chronic disease. ...
(Date:6/19/2017)... ... June 19, 2017 , ... EDETEK, Inc., a clinical ... it is launching two new additions of its award-winning cloud-based platform CONFORM™: Information ... the DIA 2017 Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, June 19-22, 2017. , “Modern ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/30/2017)... , March 30, 2017 Trends, opportunities ... (physiological and behavioral), by technology (fingerprint, AFIS, iris recognition, ... recognition, and others), by end use industry (government and ... immigration, financial and banking, and others), and by region ... , Asia Pacific , and ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Biometric Vehicle Access System ... over the next decade to reach approximately $1,580 million by 2025. ... forecasts for all the given segments on global as well as ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... LIVERMORE, Calif. , March 21, 2017 ... recognition analytics company serving law enforcement agencies, announced today ... Sheridan as director of public safety business development. ... of diversified law enforcement experience, including a focus on ... Vigilant. In his most recent position, Mr. Sheridan served ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):