Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego described the enzymatic assembly of a versatile cancer-fighting molecule in a recent study published in Nature Chemical Biology. Structural details of the unusual biosynthetic enzyme, SalC, were resolved using the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology’s 8.2.2 beamline at the Advanced Light Source.
By virtue of its unique, ringed structure the marine bacterium molecule, salinosporamide A, crosses the blood-brain barrier and could be instrumental in fighting difficult-to-access brain cancers. The researchers were surprised to discover that SalC is the sole enzyme responsible for assembling the rings in salinosporamide A and functions differently than other ketosynthases.
With a structural understanding of how the enzyme functions, scientists can now employ this information to produce a suite of salinosporamide molecules that could be used to treat a variety of illnesses.
Read the UC San Diego press release.