How Microbes Make Drug-like Molecules

Many life-saving drugs come from natural sources such as microbes. Learning how host organisms produce these drugs is an area of intense interest because scientists could exploit the pathways to produce more and better drug variants. Schmidt and colleagues have elucidated the mechanisms by which microbes produce one class of drug-like molecules, the Ribosomally-synthesized and Post-translationally modified Peptides (RiPPs). Continue reading → How Microbes Make Drug-like Molecules

Developing New Chemical Reactions that Can Be Performed in Living Cells

The development of bioorthogonal chemical reactions—chemical reactions that can be conducted in living cells—has been one of the most significant areas of advancement in chemistry in recent years. Franzini and colleagues have developed a series of highly efficient chemical reactions, termed “dissociative bioorthogonal reactions”, that do just that. Continue reading → Developing New Chemical Reactions that Can Be Performed in Living Cells

Fast-acting Insulins from Cone Snails

Faster acting human insulins are needed to improve the efficacy of diabetic insulin pumps. Over the past few years, collaborating teams led by Olivera, Safavi-Hemami, Schlegel, Yandell, and Chou have made the remarkable discovery that fish-hunting cone snails use fast-acting insulins to inactivate their prey by inducing hypoglycemia. Continue reading → Fast-acting Insulins from Cone Snails