'Crystal engineering' helps scientists solve 3-D protein structures

A new technique for engineering protein crystals is helping scientists figure out the three-dimensional structures of some important biological molecules, including a key plague protein whose structure has eluded researchers until now. The technique, developed with support from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), promises to help pharmaceutical companies develop more effective drugs to treat various diseases by tailor-making molecules to "fit" a protein's shape.

Featured in the cover article of the April 2004 issue of Structure, University of Virginia School of Medicine researcher Zygmunt Derewenda, Ph.D., describes how his group was able to coax certain proteins to crystallize by carefully altering their surfaces using "targeted mutagenesis." In effect, the technique substitutes a small amino acid for certain large ones. This effectively shrinks bulky groups of atoms on protein surfaces that might otherwise prevent the proteins from crystallizing.

"In order to determine a high-resolution structure of a protein, we need to study it in its crystal form," Derewenda explained. "Yet many proteins do not crystallize easily, or even at all, with current laboratory techniques. Using our approach, we can now make some of these proteins more amenable to crystallization without seriously affecting their overall structure or function."

Already, the crystal engineering technique has helped solve the structures of some particularly stubborn proteins, including the so-called V antigen of Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes the plague. Despite numerous attempts, researchers had been unsuccessful in unlocking the secrets of this protein, which plays a key role in the bacterium's ability to cause the plague. Working with Derewenda's group, David S. Waugh, Ph.D., of the NIH's National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Md., was able to crystallize the protein and then determine its structure

Contact: Alisa Zapp Machalek
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Atacama rover helps NASA learn to search for life on Mars
2. Reducing allergens in the home helps inner-city children with asthma
3. As informatics grows, Indiana University helps set research agenda
4. New diagnostic technology helps justify earlier cataract surgery
5. New technique helps scientists reveal interactions between genes and drugs
6. Living at home helps young mothers stay in school
7. Hormone helps fish to mate, may affect human hearing
8. Harmless virus helps slow HIV by boosting immune proteins
9. Study helps explain island populations susceptibility to exotic diseases
10. Utah scientist helps discover new mouse species -- and maybe a new genus
11. Choice of food helps hungry caterpillar

Post Your Comments:
(Date:9/24/2015)... 24, 2015  EyeLock LLC, a market leader of ... winning and latest technology in Booth #602 at next ... . EyeLock,s iris authentication technology provides an ... accuracy, making it the most proven way to authenticate ... technology to deliver a fast and friendly user experience ...
(Date:9/10/2015)... Sept. 10, 2015 Report Details ... Reveals Selling Opportunities and Revenue Prospects to Help ... of biologics, especially new drug classes? Get the ... ahead with exclusive market data and industry knowledge, ... developments, results, opportunities and sales predictions. Visiongain,s ...
(Date:9/10/2015)...  NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ... growing mobile commerce market, announces that the ... Modern, will feature the Wocket® smart wallet for the ... Touch Of Modern is an online ... to its 7.2 million members. Customers are affluent, urban ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/8/2015)... , October 8, 2015 ...   --> Goldman Small Cap Research, ... small cap and microcap sectors, announced today that ... on PharmaCyte Biotech, Inc. (OTCQB - PMCB), a ... developing and preparing treatments for cancer and diabetes. ...
(Date:10/8/2015)...  The ALS Association, in partnership with Prize4Life, is ... revolutionize communication technology solutions for people living with ALS. ... (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that ... spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability ... to total paralysis and death within two to five ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... , ... October 08, 2015 , ... Talon Innovations, a ... Aerospace and other technology-driven industries, announces that it is one of three finalists for ... Midsize Company.” On Thursday, September 25 Talon Innovations was recognized as a nominee ...
(Date:10/7/2015)... MARLBOROUGH, Mass. , Oct. 7, 2015 ... week announced the start of the Boston Scientific ... to encourage advancements in the use of remote patient ... clinicians, engineers, designers and entrepreneurs can submit their ideas ... networking site ( www.Medstro.com ). Cambridge, ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: