Quest for designer bacteria uncovers a ‘Spy’

We learned fairly recently (last night in fact) about the importance of protein folding. We read today about a cradle-shaped molecular assistant named Spy which aids in protein refolding which also protects any unstable proteins sticking to other proteins – Deskarati

Scientists have discovered a molecular assistant called Spy that helps bacteria excel at producing proteins for medical and industrial purposes.

Bacteria are widely used to manufacture proteins used in medicine and industry, but the bugs often bungle the job. Many proteins fall apart and get cut up inside the bacteria before they can be harvested. Others collapse into useless tangles instead of folding properly, as they must in order to function normally.

A research team led by James Bardwell, who is a professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology and of biological chemistry, as well as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, at the University of Michigan, developed a way to coerce bacteria into making large quantities of stable, functional proteins. Then, in exploring why these designer bacteria were so successful, the scientists discovered the molecular helper, Spy.

In the first phase of the research, the team designed biosensors that directly link protein stability to the antibiotic resistance of bacteria. When a poorly folded, unstable protein is inserted into the middle of the biosensor in a bacterium, it disrupts the bug’s resistance to antibiotics. When the protein is stabilized, resistance is restored.

Read more here Quest for designer bacteria uncovers a ‘Spy’.

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