It is possible that in the future scientists will be able to create living beings whose livelihoods are based on this element.
Biotechnologists from the California Institute of technology for the first time brought the bacterium is able to synthesize compounds in which silicon is present. This is a step on the way to the creation of creatures whose metabolism is based on inorganic molecules. The results of the work of scientists presented in an article published in the journal Science.
In this study, the chemists conducted a search in databases of protein sequences, to find enzymes with the potential to link the silicon with carbon. For the implementation of this reaction was hemoprotein proteins containing complex compounds of porphyrins and iron (gems). Scientists chose the protein cytochrome C, which are synthesized by bacteria Rhodothermus Marinus, living in the underwater hot springs of Iceland. They identified the gene encoding this enzyme, increased him and subjected to random mutations. The resulting DNA sequence was introduced into Escherichia coli Escherichia coli.
Found that some of the mutations in the active site of the enzyme has led to the fact that bacteria began to produce a protein able to synthesize organosilicon compounds. With its efficiency that determines the speed of reaction and the quantity of the product is superior to the artificial enzyme catalysts.
The researchers plan to continue the study to find out why, despite the fact that silicon compounds are among the most common substances on Earth, biological evolution has created carbon life. In nature there are no organisms that can use silicon in your metabolism. It is possible that in the future scientists will be able to create living beings whose livelihoods are based on this element.
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