Poisonous mushrooms could help cure deadly diseases

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New York: Toxic mushroomsmay hold secrets to tackling deadly diseases

as researchers have discovered that the fungi could help in the

production of medicines capable of curing disease without the patient

suffering any side effects.

The researchers discovered in mushrooms an enzyme called POPB that

create the mushroom's molecules that harbour missile-like proficiency

in attacking and annihilating a single vulnerable target in the human


These findings could lead to single-minded medicines with zero side

effects, said co-lead author Jonathan Walton, professor of plant

biology at the Michigan State University in the US.

The team revealed how the enzyme contributes to the manufacture of

chemical compounds known as cyclic peptides, a favourite molecule that

pharmaceutical companies use to create new drugs.

"Mushrooms are prolific chemical factories, yet only a few of their

peptides are poisonous," he added.

"These toxins survive the high temperatures of cooking and the acids

of digestion, and yet they are readily absorbed by the bloodstream and

go directly to their intended target. These are the exact qualities

needed for an effective medicine," Walton said.

The enzyme POPB convert the toxins from their initial linear shape

into cyclic peptides, fortress-like molecular circles comprising eight

amino acids.

Harnessing the distinct properties of POPB will allow scientist to

create billions of variant molecules, which can be tested against many

different medical targets such as pathogenic bacteria and cancer, the

researchers said.

For the study, the scientists worked with the mushroom species Amanita.

The study appeared in the journal Chemistry and Biology.

Credit: IANS

Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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