In the Pipeline's Derek Lowe takes a look at chemical biology, and says that the combination of organic chemistry and molecular biology is "one of the most interesting and productive research frontiers." While biologists have been looking at genes and their proteins, mutating and manipulating them in living systems, chemists have been working with enzymes as a way of controlling molecules. "These are the catalysts that we really want: fast, efficient, selective, working at room temperature under benign conditions," Lowe says. "If you want molecular-level nanotechnology (not quite down to atomic!), then enzymes are it." But while they've tried making synthetic enzymes, none have really approached the level of biological enzymes, so chemists have turned to modifying existing enzymes for their own purposes, Lowe adds. Chemists are also looking into other "biological frontiers," such as DNA manipulation and activity-based proteomics, which, he says, has a number of applications for chemistry.
A Look at Chemical Biology
Sep 23, 2010