Protein Designed Entirely from Scratch Functions in Cells as a Genuine Enzyme

January 19, 2018

(Eurekalert) – A dawning field of research, artificial biology, is working toward creating a genuinely new organism. At Princeton, chemistry professor Michael Hecht and the researchers in his lab are designing and building proteins that can fold and mimic the chemical processes that sustain life. Their artificial proteins, encoded by synthetic genes, are approximately 100 amino acids long, using an endlessly varying arrangement of 20 amino acids. Now, Hecht and his colleagues have confirmed that at least one of their new proteins can catalyze biological reactions, meaning that a protein designed entirely from scratch functions in cells as a genuine enzyme.

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