University of Missouri School of Medicine MU Health School of Medicine
News Divider
            


Lesa Beamer, PhD, and Steven Van Doren, PhD, use MU's 800 MHz NMR spectrometer, the second of its generation in the U.S. and the only one in Missouri, for their enzyme research.


Biochemists Peer into Enzyme that Makes Bacteria Hazardous to Patients


New $1.04 million grant and large NMR spectrometer support chemical reaction research

Scientists know that enzymes function as catalysts for chemical reactions, but much about the internal machinery of enzymes remains a mystery. Now, a $1.04 million grant from the National Science Foundation will help MU biochemists Lesa Beamer, PhD, and Steven Van Doren, PhD, explore the pathways and networks in one enzyme that could play a role in preventing bacteria from infecting patients with weakened immune systems.

"We have known for a long time that enzymes are complicated, but studying their complexity has been difficult because the technology wasn't available until now," said Beamer, an associate professor of biochemistry. "Thanks to MU's recent investment in scientific resources, we have all of the right tools here to study the movements of these enzymes, as well as to attract external grant funding for our research."

Using a $2.1 million nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer installed at MU in 2008, Beamer and Van Doren hope to generate new insights about the internal functions of the phosphomannomutase/phosphoglucomutase (PMM/PGM) enzyme as it interacts with sugar molecules. The second of its generation installed in the U.S. and the only one in Missouri, MU's 800-megahertz NMR spectrometer offers one of only a few methods available for examining the three-dimensional structure of molecules. The NMR is in a $10 million medical research building that opened two years ago.

Beamer and Van Doren's research findings could aid in the development of new types of antibiotics, since the enzyme being studied, PMM/PGM, is produced by the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The bacteria can grow in the body, in soil and on multiple surfaces and can cause severe infections in patients with underlying medical problems like cystic fibrosis.

"If scientists have a better understanding of this enzyme, then there's a better possibility of building a drug to stop the enzyme from working," said Van Doren, a professor of biochemistry. "The bacteria uses the enzyme in a pathway to create a system of defense, so if the enzyme can't work, then bacteria could be easier to eradicate in a clinical setting."

Beamer and Van Doren's study of how enzyme structures move and fluctuate, and how the timing of such activity affects an enzyme chemical reaction, is regarded as a promising new area of research.

"Our peers are calling this research transformative, and we are encouraged by that designation," Beamer said. "We believe that our research, using this level of detail, could change the way we think about not only this protein but also other enzymes and their biological systems."
Missouri Health News Network

Divider

News and Events

Binge Drinking MU Researchers Identify Epigenetic Changes Caused by Binge Drinking
Overconsumption of alcohol triggers inflammatory response in the liver

Coulter MU Awards Grants to Advance Biomedical Discoveries
Coulter program pairs physicians, engineers to develop new health technologies

Dermatology Gala Gala To Celebrate Five Decades Of Dermatology At MU
Dermatology residency program began in 1963

HIV MU Researchers Discover Protein's Ability To Inhibit HIV Release
TIM-family proteins also play role in Ebola and other viral infections

McAndrew $2.4 Million Gift Funds Endowed Chair in Cancer Research
Support inspired by experience with cancer center and student at MU

Lai MU Researchers Find Gene Therapy Protects Mice from Heart Condition
The condition is a leading cause of death for those with Duchenne muscular dystrophy

White Coat Ceremony MU's Expanded Medical Class Receives White Coats at Ceremony
Event marks start of professional journey for 104 students

Belden Interactive E-Book Aims to Improve Electronic Health Records
E-book provides guidelines for usability of EHRs

Delafontaine Tulane Cardiovascular Researcher Named School of Medicine Dean
Patrice Delafontaine, MD, is accomplished physician-scientist, educator, administrator

Frederick Fraunfelder, MD Fraunfelder Joins MU School of Medicine as Chair of Ophthalmology
Fraunfelder specializes in corneal disease, cancers of the eye and laser surgery

Karl D. Nolph, MD In Memoriam: Karl D. Nolph, MD
Nephrology leader was pioneer in the field of dialysis




Media Relations
University of Missouri Health System
One Hospital Drive, DC028.00
Columbia, MO 65212
24/7 on-call pager: (573) 876-0708

Mary Jenkins
jenkinsmg@health.missouri.edu
(573) 882-7299

Jeff Hoelscher
hoelscherj@health.missouri.edu
(573) 884-1608

Derek Thompson
thompsonder@health.missouri.edu
(573) 882-3323


Web Communications
University of Missouri Health System
One Hospital Drive, MA204G, DC018.00
Columbia, MO 65212
(573) 884-0298

Rich Gleba
glebar@health.missouri.edu
(573) 884-0298

Laura Gerding, APR
gerdingla@health.missouri.edu
(573) 882-9193

Velvet Hasner
hasnerv@health.missouri.edu
(573) 884-1115

Mike Muin
muinm@health.missouri.edu
(573) 884-7541



Printer Friendly
Follow us on Twitter!   Facebook   YouTube Videos  
Website created and maintained by the Office of Communications.
Contact the MU School of Medicine.
Revised: April 27, 2013 - Copyright © 2013 - The Curators of the University of Missouri System.
All rights reserved. DMCA and other copyright information. An equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.