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.