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)

Air pollution behind decline in monsoon rains Oct 2, 2:42 pm
Washington, Oct 2 (ANI): A new study has shown that it maybe human induced air pollution that has caused a decline in the annual monsoon rainfall over the past 50 years.
Full Story
Intense workout enhances long-term memory Oct 2, 2:42 pm
Washington, Oct 2 (ANI): A new study has revealed that intense workout of as little as 20 minutes can enhance episodic memory, also known as long-term memory for previous events, by about 10 percent in healthy young adults.
Full Story
Sharks have personalities too: Study Oct 2, 1:59 pm
Washington, Oct 2 (ANI): A new study has revealed that sharks have personalities too, as some of them can be 'gregarious' and have strong social connections, whilst others are more solitary and prefer to remain inconspicuous.
Full Story
Fly study shows offspring can resemble mother's former sexual partner Oct 2, 1:25 pm
Washington, Oct 2 (ANI): In a new study conducted on flies, scientists have for the very first time found that a baby can have resemblance to the mother's former sexual partner.
Full Story
Comments

LATEST STORIES
TOP VIDEO STORIES
PHOTO GALLERY