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How the 100th protein structure solved at Diamond impacts our understanding of how insects smell
Date:9/29/2009

New research announced today, Wednesday 30th September, by a team of leading scientists working with the UK's national Synchrotron, Diamond Light Source, could have a significant impact on the development and refinement of new eco-friendly pest control methods for worldwide agriculture.

Published in the Journal of Molecular Biology, the study was carried out by Dr Jing-Jiang Zhou and colleagues at the world's oldest agricultural research centre and the largest UK facility, Rothamsted Research, in collaboration with Professor Nick Keep's group from the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology at Birkbeck, University of London.

Dr Jing-Jiang Zhou, Senior Research Scientist in insect molecular biology at Rothamsted Research, studies insect olfaction and chemical ecology at the molecular level, he explains, "Using Diamond Light Source's intense X-rays, we unravelled the detailed mechanisms linked to pheromone detection which dictates mating behaviour in silkworm moths. They are a model organism and any new insights into the working of their olfactory system has repercussions on our global understanding how insects locate mates and their hosts."

Solving this protein structure also represents a significant achievement in the advance of structural biology in the UK and it marks the 100th new structure identified at Diamond since its opening in 2007.

Professor Dave Stuart, Life Sciences Director at Diamond Light Source adds: "It is a milestone and it illustrates the fascinating range of structural biology being undertaken in the UK. Congratulations to the Rothamsted and Birkbeck groups; thanks to productive groups like these, there is currently an exponential growth in the number of structures solved at Diamond."

The importance of understanding how insects 'smell' and how the chemical signals are recognised is useful for many things, but especially for pest control in agriculture. Determining the compositi
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Contact: Sarah Bucknall
sarah.bucknall@diamond.ac.uk
44-123-577-8639
Diamond Light Source
Source:Eurekalert  

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