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Researchers find color sensitive atomic switch in bacteria

ved in cell signaling that govern biological functions," Spudich said. In the longer term, the novel protein found in Anabaena has the potential to be used in nano-machinery as a color-sensor; however the authors point out that this practical application is years in the future.

First author of the paper is Lutz Vogeley, a graduate student in the UC Irvine Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. Senior authors are Spudich and Hartmut Luecke, Ph.D., professor of molecular biology and biochemistry and of physiology and biophysics at UC-Irvine. Co-authors include Oleg Sineshchekov, Ph.D., of Moscow State University in Russia, and visiting professor in the UT Center for Membrane Biology; and research fellow Vishwa Trivedi, Ph.D., and Jun Sasaki, Ph.D., assistant professor, both of the UT Center for Membrane Biology.

"One of the key frontiers of biomedical science in the genomic era is the crucial role of cell membranes in normal cell function and disease states," said Spudich, who holds the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair in Chemistry and is a professor in the UT Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. "Ask virtually any investigator and you'll find his or her research program bumps up against a membrane."

Cell membrane surfaces and their exposed proteins are the most accessible targets to treat human tissue or destroy infectious microbes, he said. More than 60 percent of medications target membrane proteins on human cells and many antibiotics target membranes on pathogens.


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Contact: Scott Merville
scott.merville@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3042
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
30-Sep-2004


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