Inteins, the intron-like regions of proteins, are becoming useful in biotech, reports The Scientist. They were first found in 1990, but were thought to be "a molecular oddity," says Dalhousie University's Paul Liu. Now, though, more than 600 inteins have been discovered and they are coming in handy as they can both cut regions out of proteins and paste parts in, and that allows researchers to create synthetic or post-translationally modified proteins, "a feat that has proven difficult using traditional protein synthesis methods," The Scientist says. Fran Perler at New England Biolabs adds, "What [inteins] allow you to do is to synthesize proteins with these modifications and study the effect of these modifications both in vitro and in vivo."
Inteins on the Rise
Sep 18, 2010