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Interactive Map of Metabolical Synthesis of Chemicals
An interactive map that compiled the chemicals produced by biological, chemical and combined reactions has been distributed on the web - A team led by Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, organized and distributed an all-inclusive listing of chemical substances that can be synthesized using microorganisms - It is expected to be used by researchers around the world as it enables easy assessment of the synthetic pathway through the web. A research team comprised of Woo Dae Jang, Gi Bae Kim, and Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at KAIST reported an interactive metabolic map of bio-based chemicals. Their research paper “An interactive metabolic map of bio-based chemicals” was published online in Trends in Biotechnology on August 10, 2022. As a response to rapid climate change and environmental pollution, research on the production of petrochemical products using microorganisms is receiving attention as a sustainable alternative to existing methods of productions. In order to synthesize various chemical substances, materials, and fuel using microorganisms, it is necessary to first construct the biosynthetic pathway toward desired product by exploration and discovery and introduce them into microorganisms. In addition, in order to efficiently synthesize various chemical substances, it is sometimes necessary to employ chemical methods along with bioengineering methods using microorganisms at the same time. For the production of non-native chemicals, novel pathways are designed by recruiting enzymes from heterologous sources or employing enzymes designed though rational engineering, directed evolution, or ab initio design. The research team had completed a map of chemicals which compiled all available pathways of biological and/or chemical reactions that lead to the production of various bio-based chemicals back in 2019 and published the map in Nature Catalysis. The map was distributed in the form of a poster to industries and academia so that the synthesis paths of bio-based chemicals could be checked at a glance. The research team has expanded the bio-based chemicals map this time in the form of an interactive map on the web so that anyone with internet access can quickly explore efficient paths to synthesize desired products. The web-based map provides interactive visual tools to allow interactive visualization, exploration, and analysis of complex networks of biological and/or chemical reactions toward the desired products. In addition, the reported paper also discusses the production of natural compounds that are used for diverse purposes such as food and medicine, which will help designing novel pathways through similar approaches or by exploiting the promiscuity of enzymes described in the map. The published bio-based chemicals map is also available at http://systemsbiotech.co.kr. The co-first authors, Dr. Woo Dae Jang and Ph.D. student Gi Bae Kim, said, “We conducted this study to address the demand for updating the previously distributed chemicals map and enhancing its versatility.” “The map is expected to be utilized in a variety of research and in efforts to set strategies and prospects for chemical production incorporating bio and chemical methods that are detailed in the map.” Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee said, “The interactive bio-based chemicals map is expected to help design and optimization of the metabolic pathways for the biosynthesis of target chemicals together with the strategies of chemical conversions, serving as a blueprint for developing further ideas on the production of desired chemicals through biological and/or chemical reactions.” The interactive metabolic map of bio-based chemicals.
Explanation for the polymerized nucleic acid enzyme's abnormal activation found
KAIST’s Professor Park Hyun Kyu of the Department of Bio Chemical Engineering revealed on the 23rd of December 2010 that his team had successfully developed the technology that uses the metal ions to control the abnormal activation of nucleic acids’ enzymes and using this, created a logic gate, which is a core technology in the field of future bio electrons. The polymerized nucleic acid enzyme works to increase the synthesis of DNA and kicks into action only when the target DNA and primers form complimentary pairs (A and T, C and G). Professor Park broke the common conception and found that it is possible for none complimentary pairs like T-T and C-C to initiate the activation of the enzyme and thus increase the nucleic acid production, given that there are certain metal ions present. What Professor Park realized is that the enzymes mistake the uncomplimentary T-T and C-C pairs (with stabilized structures due to the bonding with mercury and silver ions) as being complimentary base pairs. Professor Park described this phenomenon as the “illusionary polymerase activity.” The research team developed a logic gate based on the “illusionary polymerase activity’ phenomenon.” The logic gate paves the way to the development of future bio electron needed for bio computers and high performance memories. Professor Park commented, “The research is an advancement of the previous research carried on about metal ions and nucleic acid synthesis. Our research is the first attempt at merging the concepts of the two previously separately carried out researches and can be adapted for testing presence of metal ions and development of a new single nucleotide polymorphic gene analysis technology.” Professor Park added that, “Our research is a great stride in the field of nano scale electron element research as the results made possible the formation of accurate logic gates through relatively cost efficient and simple system designs.” On a side note, the research was funded by Korea Research Foundation (Chairman: Park Chan Mo) and was selected as the cover paper for the December issue of ‘Angewandte Chemie International Edition’.
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