by PhilipJ on 3 May 2006
David Goodsell has posted May’s Molecule of the Month—Glucose Oxidase!
Diabetes is a worldwide health problem affecting hundreds of millions of people. Fortunately, with careful management of diet and medication, the many complications of diabetes can be reduced. Part of this treatment includes the monitoring of glucose levels in the blood, so that proper action may be taken if levels get too high. The enzyme glucose oxidase has made glucose measurement fast, easy, and inexpensive.
Glucose oxidase, shown here from PDB entry 1gpe, is a small, stable enzyme that oxidizes glucose into glucolactone, converting oxygen into hydrogen peroxide in the process. Its normal biological function appears to be centered on the peroxide that is formed: hydrogen peroxide is a toxic compound that can be used to kill bacteria. For instance, glucose oxidase is found on the surface of fungi, where it helps protect against bacterial infection, and it is also found in honey, where it acts as a natural preservative.
As usual, more details and high resolution images available here.