Good news for diabetics

BGU researchers engineer ‘super enzyme’ to detect glucose levels.

A diabetes blood sugar test  (photo credit: REUTERS)
A diabetes blood sugar test
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A “super enzyme” that can detect the level of sugar in the bloodstream much more precisely – an important capability for diabetics who must monitor glucose levels – has been engineered by a team at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
According to the article just published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the enzyme detects glucose but is not sensitive to other commonly found substances in the bloodstream such as vitamins or pain killers, which often distort glucose measurements.
In addition to much clearer readings, the enzyme produces much quicker responses, thus lowering the test-taking time. Standard tests have generally relied on a protein to cause a chemical reaction and oxidize the glucose and turn it into a different molecule. That process sends electrons to an electrode and the current is interpreted as the glucose level. However, other substances in the blood can also raise the electrical current level and provide inaccurate readings. Now, the enzyme selectively oxidizes glucose and offers a much more accurate reading.
The research, titled “Highly Efficient Flavin–Adenine Dinucleotide Glucose Dehydrogenase Fused to a Minimal Cytochrome C Domain,” was conducted by Profs. Lital Alfonta and Raz Zarivach along with Alfonta’s students Itai Algov and Jennifer Grushka from the Beersheba university’s department of life sciences.