Molecular Highlights.

Ubiquitin (Ub) is a 76 residue, highly conserved protein found in all eukaryotic organisms. Ubiquitin itself does not perform any catalytic, transportative, or structural function. Rather, it is a signalling mechanism where some other regulatory mechanism will use it to label a target protein for a particular fate. It is best known for its role in ATP dependent protein degradation.

Calmodulin (CaM) is one of the best known examples calcium binding regulatory proteins in intracellular signalling pathways. Like Ubiquitin, it is highly conserved and abundant in all eukaryotic cells. As a signalling protein, Calmodulin's function is to bind calcium ions and then bind a target protein, affecting its activity. It affects processes ranging from neurotransmetter release to membrane protein organization.

Lysozyme (Lys) is an enzyme that plays an important role in the prevention of bacterial infections. It does this by attacking a specific component of certain bacterial cell walls, peptidoglycan. It was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1921 when he demonstrated that his own nasal mucus had the ability to inhibit the growth of a certain strain of bacteria in culture. In 1966, David Chilton Phillips, using x-ray crystallography, determined lysozyme's structure, the first ever solved for an enzyme. It has been an important experimental model ever since.

Dihydrofolate Reductase (DHFR) is a very important enzyme because it produces cofactors that are necessary for DNA synthesis. Specifically, DHFR catalyzes the reduction of folate and 7,8-dihydrofolate (DHF) to 5,6,7,8-tetrahydrofolate (THF). THF is an essential cofactor involved in the the transfer of methyl, methylene, and formyl groups from one molecule to another during the production of nucleotides and several amino acids. An important example of this is the utilization of carbon units from a THF cofactor by thymidylate synthase to make thymidine nucleotides.

Isovelleral is a secondary metabolite responsible for "hot", spicy flavor of certain plants and fingi. It is one of the compounds believed to form a multifaceted chemical defense system that protects organisms from parasites and predators, covalently binding primary amine residues in proteins. It is being investigated as a source for novel analgesics as well as various anti-tumor drugs.

Cardiolipin: one of the bacterial lipids actively studied by Nutritional and Health Sciences as well as by New Materials Science and Biotechnology. Their importance ranges from their role in fatty acid and cholesterol metabolism to technological applications in advanced drug delivery systems and hybrid materials.

Skatole's name is derived from the Greek root skato- meaning "dung". It is one of metabolites responsible for the rotten smell of "Corpse Flower" Titan Arum, but it is also found in orange blossoms and jasmine. Skatole is one of many compounds that is attractive to males of various species of bee and beetles.
Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment that gives color to carots. It is a well-known anti-oxidant, a precursor to vitamin A, and a widely used food coloring.
Naringenin is a flavanone found in grapefruits and oranges. It is one of the favonoids being investigated for their efects on human health as antioxidants and promoters of healthy metabolism and immune system.
Protoporphyrin IX: one of natural metabolites used in photobiovoltaic solar cells.
Berberine: an alcaloid widely used in traditional medicine.