Observation of self-assembly of proteins can help treat diseases at nanoscale

   Jun 11, 6:06 pm

Washington, June 11 (ANI): Scientists have developed a new approach to visualize how proteins assemble, which may also significantly aid the understanding of diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, which are caused by errors in assembly.

"In order to survive, all creatures, from bacteria to humans, monitor and transform their environments using small protein nanomachines made of thousands of atoms," Prof. Stephen Michnick the senior author of the study, of the university's department of biochemistry, explained.

"For example, in our sinuses, there are complex receptor proteins that are activated in the presence of different odor molecules. Some of those scents warn us of danger; others tell us that food is nearby."

Proteins are made of long linear chains of amino acids, which have evolved over millions of years to self-assemble extremely rapidly - often within thousandths of a split second - into a working nanomachine.

"One of the main challenges for biochemists is to understand how these linear chains assemble into their correct structure given an astronomically large number of other possible forms," Michnick said.

"To understand how a protein goes from a linear chain to a unique assembled structure, we need to capture snapshots of its shape at each stage of assembly," Dr. Alexis Vallee-Belisle, first author of the study, said.

"The problem is that each step exists for a fleetingly short time and no available technique enables us to obtain precise structural information on these states within such a small time frame. We developed a strategy to monitor protein assembly by integrating fluorescent probes throughout the linear protein chain so that we could detect the structure of each stage of protein assembly, step by step to its final structure," Vallee-Belisle said.

The protein assembly process is not the end of its journey, as a protein can change, through chemical modifications or with age, to take on different forms and functions.

"Understanding how a protein goes from being one thing to becoming another is the first step towards understanding and designing protein nanomachines for biotechnologies such as medical and environmental diagnostic sensors, drug synthesis of delivery," Vallee-Belisle added.

The study by University of Montreal researchers was published in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology. (ANI)

Key to preventing blindness and stroke devastation discovered Feb 1, 1:07 pm
Washington, Feb 1 (ANI): A team of scientists has discovered key to preventing blindness and stroke devastation.
Full Story
New dyes 'lighting up' brain cancer cells show promise for 'fluorescence-guided' tumor surgery Feb 1, 12:28 pm
Washington, Feb 1 (ANI): A team of scientists has identified two new fluorescent tumor-targeting agents that seek and light up brain cancer cells, suggesting they may help neurosurgeons to more accurately localize and completely resect brain tumors.
Full Story
Vatican document claims plastic surgery is 'burqa made of flesh' Feb 1, 12:27 pm
London, Feb 1 (ANI): A new Vatican report has found that undergoing plastic surgery is not at all worth, as it claims that it is a "burqa made of flesh".
Full Story
Cure for HIV on cards as latent virus' secret whereabouts found Feb 1, 11:39 am
Washington, Feb 1 (ANI): A new study has revealed that latent HIV may stay hidden in "quiet" immune cells, suggesting it may become possible to cure and not just control HIV.
Full Story
Comments

LATEST STORIES
TOP VIDEO STORIES
PHOTO GALLERY