Biochemical controls: molecular language (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 17, 2023, 17:19 (342 days ago) @ David Turell

How molecules talk/communicate with each other:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/08/230815151131.htm

"Two molecular languages at the origin of life have been successfully recreated and mathematically validated, thanks to pioneering work by Canadian scientists at Université de Montréal.

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"Living organisms are made up of billions of nanomachines and nanostructures that communicate to create higher-order entities able to do many essential things, such as moving, thinking, surviving and reproducing.

"'The key to life's emergence relies on the development of molecular languages -- also called signalling mechanisms -- which ensure that all molecules in living organisms are working together to achieve specific tasks," said the study's principal investigator, UdeM bioengineering professor Alexis Vallée-Bélisle.

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"One well-known molecular language is allostery. The mechanism of this language is "lock-and-key": a molecule binds and modifies the structure of another molecule, directing it to trigger or inhibit an activity.

'Another, lesser-known molecular language is multivalency, also known as the chelate effect. It works like a puzzle: as one molecule binds to another, it facilitates (or not) the binding of a third molecule by simply increasing its binding interface.

"Although these two languages are observed in all molecular systems of all living organisms, it is only recently that scientists have started to understand their rules and principles -- and so use these languages to design and program novel artificial nanotechnologies.

"'Given the complexity of natural nanosystems, before now nobody was able to compare the basic rules, advantage or limitations of these two languages on the same system," said Vallée-Bélisle.

"To do so, his doctoral student Dominic Lauzon, first author of the study, had the idea of creating a DNA-based molecular system that could function using both languages. "DNA is like Lego bricks for nanoengineers," said Lauzon. "It's a remarkable molecule that offers simple, programmable and easy-to-use chemistry."

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"For example, while the multivalent language enabled control of both the sensitivity and cooperativity of the activation or deactivation of the molecules, the corresponding allosteric translation only enabled control of the sensitivity of the response.

"With this new understanding at hand, the researchers used the language of multivalency to design and engineer a programmable antibody sensor that allows the detection of antibodies over different ranges of concentration.

"'As shown with the recent pandemic, our ability to precisely monitor the concentration of antibodies in the general population is a powerful tool to determine the people's individual and collective immunity," said Vallée-Bélisle.

"In addition to expanding the synthetic toolbox to create the next generation of nanotechnology, the scientist's discovery also shines a light on why some natural nanosystems may have selected one language over another to communicate chemical information."

Comment: I presented this to make point that organic chemistry is highly complex in how molecules interact. Inorganic chemistry is simple. Sodium and chlorine simply quickly join into water. Assuming God started life, organic chemistry is an unnatural development, and we are slowly unraveling its mysteries. It requires enzymes, huge molecules, to make things happen. Alone they are quite an invention. So is all the rest.


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