After decades of effort, scientists have revealed atomic-scale details of the water splitting step of photosynthesis, the chemical process that generates the air we breathe. The latest work adds to our understanding of photosynthesis and will aid the development of fully renewable alternative energy sources.
Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division faculty scientists James Fraser and James Holton were part of a team that demonstrated that a natural language processing AI can design novel proteins that function as well as naturally occurring ones. This advance could energize the 50-year-old field of protein engineering by speeding the development of new proteins that can be used for almost anything from therapeutics to degrading plastic.
The projects of 22 Biosciences Area scientists and engineers received funding through the FY23 Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program.
Each year, the Berkeley Lab Director’s Achievement Award program recognizes outstanding contributions by employees to all facets of Lab activities. Several Biosciences Area personnel are among the 2022 honorees.
PARP1 is an enzyme that senses DNA damage and sends a cellular signal to carry out repair. It has been found to be upregulated in several carcinomas and inhibiting its activity has been shown to repress tumor growth and metastasis. PARP1 has also emerged as a promising therapeutic target for Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases, where attenuating the enzyme’s hyperactivity can help cells survive. To better understand the regions of PARP1 that various inhibitors attack, an international team of researchers captured the first snapshot of the enzyme in the active state it adopts after detecting DNA damage.