A team of scientists has been jointed by two middle-school students in reporting the first glimpse of the innermost structure of a key bacterial enzyme. It helps activate certain antibiotics and anti-cancer agents so that those substances do their job. Their study appears in ACS' weekly journal Biochemistry. The student co-authors of the study are from Edgewood Campus Middle School in Madison and participated in Project CRYSTAL, a special program that provides middle school students with hands-on laboratory experience. In the report, study leader Hazel Holden and colleagues note intense scientific interest in a chemical process called methylation, which increases the activity of DNA, proteins, and other substances in the body by transferring methyl (CH3) groups to them. Special enzymes called methyltransferases make methylation possible, and these proteins are very important in a myriad of key biological processes. Holden and colleagues studied a bacterial methyltransferase involved in the production of tetronitrose, a component of the promising anti-cancer agent, tetrocarcin, and the antibiotic kijanimicin. The methyltransferase seems to play a key role in activating these disease-fighters. The scientists identified the 3D structure of this methyltransferase, a key step in determining how it works and how it might be modified for potential use in medicine. Source: Eurekalert << Stroke Monitoring Needed for Millions of Americans in Early... UCLA Study Says Teachers can Close Gender Gap in Classroom ... >> Recommended Reading Birth Defects - Infections Birth defects are abnormalities, which occur before the birth of the baby and can be caused due to genetic, environmental and other unknown reasons. READ MORE Tapeworm Infections Tapeworms are a group of parasites that depend on humans for growth and cause intestinal infection in them. Tapeworm symptoms and signs include stomach pain, loss of appetite, weight loss. READ MORE Leucopenia / Leukopenia Leucopenia / Leukopenia is a decrease in the number of total white blood cells found in blood. The normal total white cell count is 5000-10000 per cubic millimeter. READ MORE Food Preservatives - How Safe Are They? Food preservatives are basically antimicrobials or anti-oxidants that help preserve food by destroying the microbes and stopping decomposition of food products. READ MORE Most Popular on Medindia Post-Nasal Drip Drug Interaction Checker Drug Side Effects Calculator More News on: Food Preservatives - How Safe Are They?