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Unexpected similarities between raindrops and proteins

ke ALS, mad-cow disease, and Alzheimer's disease. At present these diseases are incurable because the knowledge of the misfolding process is yet fragmental.

With the aid of the new theory, these scientists are now working to map what parts of the proteins control the folding and what parts are vulnerable to noxious misfolding. The findings could represent an important step toward a more detailed molecular understanding of how proteins behave in our cells and what happens when things go wrong. As so often in the past, parts of the puzzle turn up when they are least expected: in this case the principle behind the formation of raindrops may be the key to understanding neurodegenerative diseases.

"The connection between raindrops and proteins may seem simple, but simple solutions are often the right ones. It also shows how everything fits together in nature. Phenomena recur, but with different faces. If we can understand protein folding with help of this theory, we will also be gaining a greater knowledge of life and why things sometimes go wrong," says Mikael Oliveberg.


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Contact: Karin Wikman
karin.wikman@adm.umu.se
46-90-786-6024
Swedish Research Council
26-May-2004


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