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High-res view of zinc transport protein
Date:9/13/2009

cts of biomass production in plants, an essential component to the development of biofuels. Zinc is an essential co-factor in a host of reactions in chloroplasts, the site of photosynthesis. But as is the case in animals, excess metals can be highly toxic in plants. Consequently, studies to help elucidate zinc-transporter protein function could help scientists understand how plants maintain the delicate balance needed for ideal growth.

Future studies of protein structures at Brookhaven Lab promise to reveal even greater mechanistic detail when a new light source, known as NSLS-II, opens in 2015. That facility, now under construction, will be 10,000 times brighter than NSLS. That boost in brightness and therefore resolution would be particularly important in the study of membrane proteins, which represent the vast majority of proteins of interest to those developing drugs, but which are also often difficult to crystallize.

"As illustrated by this study, even small improvements in x-ray diffraction resolution can greatly advance our mechanistic understanding of protein function," said Fu.


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Contact: Karen McNulty Walsh
kmcnulty@bnl.gov
631-344-8350
DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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