Poisonous Mushrooms a Potential Cure?

Poisonous MushroomsPoisonous mushrooms may indeed hold the key to better medicines for treating disease. The enzymes found in the poisonous mushrooms may be used for future medicines provided by pharmaceutical suppliers.

Michigan State University Scientists have discovered an enzyme in mushrooms that makes the lethal potency of poisonous mushrooms.  The team discovered that the enzyme’s ability to create the mushroom’s molecules led to the mushroom having extremely powerful efficiency in attacking and annihilating a single vulnerable target in the human liver.

The researchers show how the enzyme contributes to the manufacture of cyclic peptides, a chemical compound. Cyclic Peptides are a type of molecule that pharmaceutical companies use to create new drugs. This new discovery could lead to highly proficient targeting medicines with zero side effects.

Jonathan Walton, Professor of Plant Biology and co-lead author in the study said, “Mushrooms are prolific chemical factories, yet only a few of their peptides are poisonous,”…. “These toxins survive the high temperatures of cooking and the acids of digestion, and yet they’re readily absorbed by the bloodstream and go directly to their intended target. These are the exact qualities needed for an effective medicine.”

The enzyme the team discovered is called POPB, and it converts toxins from their initial linear shape into cyclic peptides, fortress-like molecular circles comprising eight amino acids.

If scientists can capture the distinct properties of the POPB enzyme, it will allow for the creation of possibly billions of variant molecules. These variant molecules can then be tested against numbers of different medical targets like pathogenic bacteria and cancers. Further research will follow to see the effectiveness in real life against killers like cancer.

Research  published in Chemistry and Biology





Image Courtesy of: StationHealth

Source: Michigan State Univ. Source: R&D


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