Biotech Updates

Bacterial Adhesive Protein to Improve Biological Systems

February 24, 2012

Two proteins that bind together stronger than the strongest "glue" were found by researchers at the Department of Biochemistry, Oxford University. Named SpyTag and SpyCatcher, the two protein complex of FbaB were found in human pathogen Streptococcus pyrogenes. The FbaB protein has a 3D structure that is stabilized by another covalent bond, which instantly binds and loops the amino acid chain together with exceptional strength.

Published in this week's Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, results of the study led by Mark Howarth shows that the two parts of FbaB protein can be split by around the covalent bond and can be brought together again forming the strong bond once more, even at extreme temperatures. The ability of SpyCatcher and SpyTag to stick onto other molecules you want to glue together could have many applications in biological systems inside the cells, such as in sticking all the enzymes involved in a chemical process into a small factory, speeding reactions and increasing yields.

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