Tuesday, 3 June 2014

PEGylated Uricase in Gout

The gout demon 1799
One of the many enzymes manufactured by Aspergillus fermentation is uricase. Uricase is an enzyme that helps to remove the chemical uric acid (naturally made in a wide range of organisms during purine production). Humans do not have any uricase activity in their bodies - the gene is present but it has been switched off many years ago during our evolution.

This leaves humans vulnerable to the accumulation of urea in their bodies. This condition is known as gout.

One treatment for gout is the artificial provision of uricase (made by Aspergillus), however once injected the enzyme is rapidly broken down by our immune system as it is quickly recognised as a 'non-human' protein. Researchers are investigating attaching the enzyme to a large 'protective' molecule such as polyethylene glycol (PEG) in order to extend its half life and improve efficacy. Success has been limited but useful.

Original article


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