presentative protein populations obtained from organisms whose entire genomes have been sequenced. The idea being that through the eons, families of proteins have selectively evolved into the structural shapes best suited to do their specific jobs. Kim and his group will work with two closely related bacteria, Mycoplasma genitalium and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. The former contains the smallest known genome of any free-living organism and infects the human genital and respiratory tracts. The latter causes a form of pneumonia.
To identify the structures of the full complement of proteins that make up these two "minimal organisms," Kim and his colleagues will primarily use x-ray crystallography, backed by nuclear magnetic resonance and computation. In x-ray crystallography, a beam of x-rays is sent through a protein's crystal. The crystal's atoms cause the incoming photons to be scattered, creating a diffraction pattern that computers can translate into a 3-D image of the protein's structure. Kim and his colleagues will have access to the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology which features one of the world's premier x-ray beamlines for protein crystallography at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source (ALS).
The ALS is an electron synchrotron that produces beams of x-rays and ultraviolet light for scientific research, which are a hundred million times brighter than those from the best x-ray tubes. This high brightness reduces the time required to collect a complete set of data for a single protein from what had once been months or even years using an x-ray tube, to a matter of weeks, days, or even hours.
"The use of a synchrotron radiation source such as the ALS can dramatically decrease the time required to solve novel protein structures," Kim has said. "It makes a clear and compelling case that protein crystallography can provide a foundation for structural genomics."
As a major part of their effort, Kim and his collaborators will look to reduce tPage: 1 2 3 4 Related biology news :1
Contact: Lynn Yarris
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
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