Physical Biology Highlights of 2010

Physical Biology Highlights of 2010

Adjunct Professor of Physics Joshua Weitz’s paper: Quantifying enzymatic lysis: estimating the combined effects of chemistry, physiology, and physics was one of these highlighted articles.

The Highlights of 2010 is a special collection of papers that represent the breadth and excellence of the work published in the Physical Biology last year. The articles were selected for their presentation of outstanding new research, received the highest praise from our international referees, and had the highest numbers of downloads in 2010.  Adjunct Professor of Physics Joshua Weitz’s paper:  Quantifying enzymatic lysis: estimating the combined effects of chemistry, physiology, and physics was one of these highlighted articles.

 

As we are aware, the number of microbial pathogens resistant to antibiotics increases as the rate of discovery and approval of new antibiotic therapeutics decreases. Characterization of lytic enzymes using techniques based on synthetic substrates is often difficult because lytic enzymes bind to the complex superstructure of intact cell walls. Dr. Weitz and his group present a new standard for the analysis of lytic enzymes based on turbidity assays which allow scientists to probe the dynamics of lysis without preparing a synthetic substrate. The challenge in the analysis of these assays is to infer the microscopic details of lysis from macroscopic turbidity data. They proposed a model of enzymatic lysis that integrated the chemistry responsible for bond cleavage with the physical mechanisms leading to cell wall failure. Then they presented a solution to an inverse problem where they estimated reaction rate constants and the heterogeneous susceptibility to lysis among target cells. The ability to estimate reaction rate constants for lytic enzymes will facilitate their biochemical characterization and the development of antimicrobial therapeutics.

 

2011 Phys. Biol. 8 202010

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