Effective new treatment for sobering up drunk mice

Josh Clark

Some very clever people out at UCLA have figured out a way to sober up drunken mice more quickly than simply time. Of course you'll remember that old adage about how giving a drunk mouse coffee just makes an alert drunk mouse or putting a drunk mouse in a shower only produces a wet drunk mouse. The same is not to be said about feeding a drunk mouse an AOx-Cat nanocomplex of enzymes.

What these researchers found was that by creating a complex of enzymes that were ready to bind to other molecules within cells to help break down alcohol in a drunk mouse's metabolic system, they were able to sober up a mouse by 10 percent after 45 minutes and 32 percent after one and a half hours, compared to just letting nature run its course.

You may say, well sure I could feed a drunk mouse a nanocomplex made up of AOx-Cat (alcohol oxidase and catalase, two enzymes responsible for breaking down alcohol in mouse bodies), but no you couldn't. Sobering up mice was merely a test for a novel and extremely groundbreaking technique for introducing enzymes into cells to help speed up processes. See, the UCLA researchers also used a control method to test against, they gave some of the drunk mice just AOx or Cat, but not bound together using the method of polymer binding the researchers had come up with. Normally in cells, enzymes bind to specific enzymes and are geographically located in specific areas in the cell. Introducing more of a necessary enzyme to the cell won't help because it hasn't been prepared to bind to the other enzymes it interacts with to carry out a specific process (like, say, breaking down alcohol). The UCLA researchers figured out how to prepare interacting enzymes outside of the cell so that when introduced they would be able to get to work and speed up the normal cellular process they carry out. Basically, the method uses a strand of DNA to attract enzymes to receptors. The researchers then coat the enzymes together in a polymer that binds them and then removes the DNA strand. Boom.

Without the preparation, adding an enzyme is like maybe throwing a piece of green wood onto a fire. It burns but it doesn't do much. Preparing enzymes using the UCLA researchers' method is like throwing a seasoned piece of wood soaked in gasoline onto a fire -- it produces results. In drunken mice.