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Scientists Develop Machine that Could Produce Protein Artificially

Update Date: Jan 14, 2013 07:21 AM EST

In a recent research, scientists have designed a machine, which, when fully developed, will be able to perform the full functionality of that of a ribosome. This research was done by scientists from Manchester University.

The aim is to produce different types of proteins which will help in the production of novel drugs for disease treatment and cure. This might also help in the production of a completely biodegradable plastic; the scope and opportunities are endless.

The paper was published in the magazine Science.

"Ribosome makes proteins, which are just one type of polymer used by nature. In fact, all of biology is based on just four sorts of so-called information polymers - proteins, DNA, RNA and also carbohydrates. But with our artificial machines, we're not limited by the same building blocks of nature. So, we should be able to make new materials with other types of building blocks - new type of plastics, new types of catalysts, pharmaceutical and so on," professor David Leigh, from the School of Chemistry at Manchester University, told the BBC World Service Science in Action Program.

Ribosomes are responsible for protein synthesis. The genetic code from DNA is carried over to ribosomes by mRNA, better known as messenger RNA. Ribosomes then synthesize amino acids by deciphering these codes from mRNA. These amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which builds a protein molecule by folding. The machine developed by the scientists is also designed to work in a related manner.

"Just as robots are used to assemble cars in factories in the big world, one day we hope we will be able to use artificial machines like this in molecular factories to construct new things with great efficiency," Leigh added, while speaking about the mechanism of the machine.

The machine is minuscule in size and is like a circular-shaped object attached to a stick. While advancing, the circle accumulates the chemical units on its way and deposits them at the end of the stick, which then helps in building a protein.

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