Eleanore Wurtzel Identifies Enzyme to Potentially End Vitamin A Deficiency

Professor Eleanore T. Wurtzel (GC/Lehman, Biochemistry/Biology) has identified a new enzyme in plants that shows promise for ending vitamin A deficiency — a life-threatening health issue that affects 250 million children worldwide.
Vitamin A deficiency is linked to diets that lack provitamin A carotenoids, which are found in crops such as maize, wheat, and rice. The enzyme that Wurtzel and her research partners discovered is essential to controlling a plant’s level of carotenoids.
The findings, “Control of carotenoid biosynthesis through a heme-based cis-trans isomerase,” were published in Nature Chemical Biology. Wurtzel collaborated with scientists from the Graduate Center, New York Structural Biology Center, University of Mississippi Medical Center, University of South Carolina, Georgia Institute of Technology, New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited in Auckland, and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
“The work in my lab is a presentation of a true interdisciplinary collaboration between chemists and biologists,” Wurtzel says. “Good science comes about when you find people who are willing, able, and good at what they do to collaborate with you. In this particular case, everyone that worked on this project was bringing in some expertise that complimented what we had.”

Submitted on: JUN 16, 2015

Category: Biochemistry | Biology | General GC News