A new study from the Princeton team has brought a big step forward for the future by confirming that an artificial protein the team developed could act as an enzyme in living bacteria.
Over the years, the Princeton team has created artificial proteins for E. coli, a simple bacterium commonly used as a clinical trial in medicine. The researchers removed some genes that could lead to bacteria being unable to produce the Fes enzyme, whose cells are used to obtain iron to test the positive of the work. Without that vital mineral, bacteria would not have survived. However, the team then implanted artificial proteins that could replace lost functions to “save lives” or revive bacteria.
In the new study, the researchers identified how new proteins work. They found that two of them saved E. Coli by compensating for the lost enzymes, which could promote the production of other processes in the cell.
“This artificial protein, scientifically named Syn-F4, is actually an enzyme,” said Ann Donnelly, lead author of the study.
An artificial enzyme such as Syn-F4 is an essential step in the development of synthetic biology experiments. Not only can these life forms be designed to develop food, fuel, and medicine effectively, but they can also help us understand how life can arise in other situations – for example, on other planets …
“We have liberated 0.1% of the E. coli genome. So far, it is a strange E. coli containing some artificial genes that allow bacteria to grow easily,” said Hecht. However, the experts hypothesized that if the amount of artificial enzyme replacement up to the rate of 10-20% is successful, this E. coli is no longer strange, but it becomes a new organism.
The research has just been published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.