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Chemical secrets of a plant used throughout history for its calming effects have been revealed in new research.
These new findings came from research into Indian Snakeroot (Rauwolfia serpentina) which has been used for millennia in South and South East-Asia as a tranquilizer.
John - Innes - Centre - Team - Lab
The John Innes Centre team in the lab of Professor Sarah O'Connor followed clues from the recent past to identify the genetic networks behind a critical catalyst called a sarpagan bridge enzyme.
This generates an important chemical link to medicinally useful compounds in Indian snakeroot and many other plants.
Author - Paper - Dr - Thu - Thuy
Lead author of the paper Dr. Thu Thuy Dang of the John Innes Centre said: "We set out to find the missing enzyme that catalyses this important reaction based on a 20-year-old clue from the literature.
"Thanks to the new advancements in bioinformatic and biological chemistry approaches, we were able to identify the missing gene that encodes the enzyme among thousands of other genes from the plant."
Discovery - Enzyme - Chemistry - Routes - Treatments
The discovery of the new oxidative enzyme that catalyzes intriguing chemistry could deliver faster routes to treatments for abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure and some mental disorders.
The study also found that the enzyme has an adaptable mechanism that could create a suite of structurally diverse chemical products.
Prof - Sarah - O'Connor - Discovery - Bridge
Prof. Sarah O'Connor added: "The discovery of the sarpagan bridge enzyme, together with other scaffold generator enzymes, will provide the parts necessary for assembling and engineering of metabolic pathways in organisms such as yeast or tobacco plants for mass production of pharmaceutically important compounds. We are currently collaborating with...
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