I wanted to start to share some of my real ideas regarding what I’m calling “Molecular Yoga” and some of the work I’ve been doing as a postdoc. The inspiration comes from a class of molecules called Ribozymes. These are RNA based molecules that can act to catalyze reactions, most of which are self-cleaving reactions. The pioneering work has been done by Szotak’s group at Harvard, you can read more about them on wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ribozyme and I would direct you to any papers his group has authored on the subject. This, in part, relates back to my earlier critique of the paper on the development of RNA->Protein translation. Szotak and colleagues have developed this hypothesis that chemical “life” as it existed before protein synthesis, was carried out by RNA. This work created an area of intense, new research into the “Origins of Life”. I believe that we, with our interest in molecules that can take multiple shapes, can add new insights to this area!
Most of the structures of these Ribozymes (or potentially DNAzymes) are static. That is to say, they don’t change their structure much at all, they have binding pockets for small molecules or they end up cleaving themselves. I’ve been working on a new class of polynucleotides that I believe activate by opening and closing around molecules. If this is true then such a molecule might be capable of containing and selectively exposing chemical moieties (say Sulfide groups, Azole groups, etc.) We could be looking at a class of molecules that act more like true enzymes, that can act on one substrate, leave that substrate, and act on another molecule. These are just a few initial thoughts in their infancy. I will talk much more in depth about this topic when I have more data to show.
Thanks for reading!