Scientists have recently developed first of its kind artificial protein. This protein is designed on a computer and further synthesized in a laboratory. These artificial proteins can be used to develop new biological circuits in living cells. There are several therapies, which are effective when administered at the right time with the right dosage quantity. However, if not delivered at the right time or dosage, then these therapies fail to provide the expected result and can also cause adverse effects. In most of the cases, healthcare professional lack knowledge about it or lack the time and correct resources.
To avoid such situations and processes, a team of bioengineers have developed a remarkable solution. These scientist has developed smart cells that act as small robots. These cells can be used to detect disease and damage, and also can be used as an aid to deliver therapy/drug at the right time and in the right amount. This can be completed without any direct human interference. This protein is known as Latching Orthogonal Cage-Key pRotein (LOCKR). The circuits of this artificial protein transform ordinary cells into smart cells. It provides better control over protein interaction with other components of the cell and helps to solve the issues if any.
The structure of LOCKR is similar to a barrel which opens and reveals a molecular arm. This arm controls the cellular process virtually. This arm remains hidden until the opening of the barrel and moreover, the barrel remains closed until the molecular key that fits perfectly into the lock of the barrel isn’t used. The key means a protein, which is designed by scientists. The LOCKR can be controlled by on and off switch. This switches look very simple and control the ability of LOCKR. Furthermore, researchers have demonstrated a version of the tool viz. degronLOCKR. This version helps to resolve the overall process when the circuits detect a disruption of normal cell activity. It is expected that the degronLOCKR and LOCKR will help to solve many healthcare-related issues by programming the cells.