|Scientists have devised a simple technique for shielding biologically
important molecules from degradation, which could open the door to
Short chains of amino acids called peptides help to control processes
ranging from food intake to communication between neurons. But many
natural enzymes in the body snip peptides apart, limiting their use in
medicine. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in
Philadelphia tried a simple fix: substituting sulfur for the oxygen atom
located at a peptide bond often sliced by enzymes.
Making the atomic swap in glucagon-like peptide-1, which helps to
regulate blood-sugar levels and appetite, rendered the modified peptide
as much as 750 times more stable than the natural variety. Rats treated
with the more durable form of the peptide had smaller blood-sugar spikes
after meals than rats treated with the naturally occurring peptide.