Prof. Moose: the discoveries of Nobel laureates in chemistry were ahead of their time
The discoveries of this year’s Nobel laureates in chemistry are only now being widely applied in various areas of science, including medicine. They were ahead of their time,” believes Prof. Marcin Moose of the University of Gdansk.
Frances H. Arnold, George P. Smith and Gregory P. Winter are this year’s Nobel Prize winners in chemistry, the Nobel Committee announced in Stockholm. Nobel committee stressed that the laureates "were inspired by the mechanisms of evolution and used these principles – genetic mutation and natural selection – to design proteins thatóre help solve chemical problems plaguing humanity".
– Nobel laureate discoveriesóin the field of chemistry, whichórities were already made several decades ago, only today we are able to widely apply in róThe research is being used in various areas of science, including medicine. I believe that they have overtaken swój time,” said in an interview with PAP prof. Marcin Łoś from the University of Gdańsk. He added that admittedly they have been appreciated since their announcement is m.in. Only advances in the field of identifying the physiology of cancerów have enabled their practical application.
Frances H. Arnold pioneered a method referred to as directed protein evolution, whichóra uses an evolutionary mechanism known as natural selection. – The method allows for a great deal of. It is possible to take an enzyme from its natural environment and make it catalyze the synthesis of compoundsóin whichóre normally not produced by organisms – mówi prof. Moose. This means that the enzymes "They are forced to do something that they don’t normally do in nature".
Prof. Moose hopes that perhaps in the near future the solution developed by Arnold will allow cheap and efficient production of e.g. alcohols (ethanol, butanol) or succinic acid from such materialsów as, for example, potato waste. – Now they can’t be used for basically anything, alternatively they can be burned, which is not a very efficient solution, the scientist believes.
Targeted evolution of proteins – enzymeów are already being used to produce bioplasticsóin, and even the drugów – indicates prof. Moose.
This year’s other Nobel laureates in chemistry George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter used the method of genetic modification of bacteriophageów, i.e. virusów attacking bacteria, to study interactions between proteins. This allowed m.in. obtain antibodies, whichóre are able to neutralize toxins, fight autoimmune diseases and malignant tumors.
– With this method, only in one probówce in one afternoon we are able to conduct several trillionóIn the experimentóIn, instead of performing them painstakingly each day in turn. So this is a technique thatóra makes it possible to dramatically increase the efficiency of experiments carried out. If it weren’t for her, there wouldn’t be enough life to carry out so many of them,” he points out.
The technique is used róalso in Poland. Prof. Moose mentions a study in whichóhe participated in. Bacteriophages have been used to develop technologies thatóra makes it possible to create better embersóleds.
The method also has a positive ethical aspect. – Thanks to it, in someórych situations – by replacing experimental animals with viruses and bacteria – we avoid senseless suffering, the scientist stresses. In this wayób it is possible to achieve the desired effect, for example, to find a potential drug without injecting a disease agentóricidal enzymes from experimental animals.