Scientists have discovered that poisonous mushrooms could help batting deadly diseases.
According to the Michigan State University scientists, toxic fungi contains an enzyme that is the key to its lethal potency. The results reveal the enzyme's ability to create the mushroom's molecules that harbor missile-like proficiency in attacking and annihilating a single vulnerable target in the human liver.
The team revealed how the enzyme contributes to the manufacture of chemical compounds known as cyclic peptides, a favorite type of molecule that pharmaceutical companies use to create new drugs.
Co-lead author Jonathan Walton said that 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. Hence, the findings could lead to single-minded medicines with zero side effects.
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.
Harnessing the distinct properties of POPB would allow scientist to create billions of variant molecules, which can be tested against many different medical targets such as pathogenic bacteria and cancer.
The study is published in the journal Chemistry and Biology.