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Show Yourself, Asparaginase: An Enzymatic Reaction Explained through a Hands-On Interactive Activity

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journal contribution
posted on 13.06.2017, 00:00 authored by Josell Ramirez-Paz, Bonny M. Ortiz-Andrade, Kai Griebenow, Liz Díaz-Vázquez
Determining the catalytic activity of an enzyme can be the perfect method for its identification, for example during purification procedures or for isolation purposes. Herein, we used a pharmaceutically relevant protein to bring the concept of enzymatic activity to the classroom. We designed a hands-on interactive activity in which a medically relevant enzyme, asparaginase, was distinguished from a nonenzymatic protein based on its specific enzymatic activity. The experiment was carried out in the classroom, designed to impact different educational levels from elementary to high school. Our main purposes were to promote the emerging field of protein-based drugs as a source of scientific careers in bionanotechnology and to show the students an image of a “scientist” as that of a common and educated person working in an exciting profession. In addition of being inexpensive, this activity proved to be adaptable for various educational levels and can be easily implemented in different scenarios, for example, scientific fairs, some schools, and so forth.

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