Enzymes are nature’s powerhouses. Found in the cells of all animals, plants, and every other living organism, they accelerate the chemical reactions that trigger thousands of biological functions—from forming neurons to digesting food. They perform their jobs so selectively and so quickly—millions of times faster than a blink of the eye—that the field of biomimetic chemistry has emerged over the past few decades with the goal of designing artificial enzymes that can mimic the powers of natural enzymes in industrial settings. Artificial enzymes could, for example, convert corn into ethanol or help create new drugs more quickly, cheaply, and effectively.
Moving one step closer to achieving that goal, Rajeev Prabhakar, a computational chemist at the University of Miami, and his collaborators at the University of Michigan have created a novel, synthetic, three-stranded molecule that functions just like a natural metalloenzyme, or an enzyme that contains metal ions.
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