Scientists design first artificial ‘protein-making factory’

New York, July 30 (IANS) In a first, US scientists have engineered an artificial ribosome – the protein synthesisers of the cell – or what the scientists call ‘protein-making factory’ that may enable the production of new drugs and next-generation biomaterial.

The artificial ribosome, called Ribo-T, works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component that produces all the proteins and enzymes within the cell, the study said.

Not only did Ribo-T make proteins in a test-tube, it was able to make enough protein in bacterial cells that lacked natural ribosomes to keep the bacteria alive.

“Our new protein-making factory holds promise to expand the genetic code in a unique and transformative way, providing exciting opportunities for synthetic biology and biomolecular engineering,” said one of the researchers Michael Jewett, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern University in the US.

The scientists believe that Ribo-T would lead to a better understanding of how ribosomes function.

“This is an exciting tool to explore ribosomal functions by experimenting with the most critical parts of the protein synthesis machine, which previously were ‘untouchable,'” Alexander Mankin from University of Illinois at Chicago noted.

The study claimed no one has ever developed something of this nature and that the human-made ribosome may be able to be manipulated in the laboratory to do things natural ribosomes cannot do.

The findings were detailed in the journal Nature.

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