In these recent sweltering days of summer, air conditioning might seem like your best friend. But those refreshingly cold gusts of air could also be delivering microbes around your house or office – and possibly making you sick. (more…)
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In pharmaceutical production, identifying enzyme catalysts that help improve the speed and efficiency of the process can be a major boon. Figuring out exactly why a particular enzyme works so well is an altogether different quest.
Take the cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin. First marketed commercially as Zocor, the statin drug has generated billions of dollars in annual sales. In 2011, UCLA scientists and colleagues discovered that a mutated enzyme could help produce the much sought-after pharmaceutical far more efficiently than the chemical process that had been used for years — and could do it better than the natural, non-mutated version of the enzyme. But no one quite knew why, until another team of UCLA researchers cracked the mystery. (more…)