Navigation Links
More effective method of imaging proteins

Using a unique facility in the US, researchers at the University of Gothenburg have found a more effective way of imaging proteins. The next step is to film how proteins work at molecular level.

Mapping the structure of proteins and the work they do in cells could be the key to cures for everything from cancer to malaria. Last year Richard Neutze, professor of biochemistry at the University of Gothenburg, and his research group were among the first in the world to image proteins using very short and intensive X-ray pulses.

In a new study published in Nature Methods, the method has been tested on a new type of protein, with good results.

"To put it simply, we've developed a new method of creating incredibly small protein crystals," says Linda Johansson, doctoral student at the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology and lead author of the article. "We've also shown that it's possible to use very small crystals to determine a membrane protein structure."

Could become standard

There are two major challenges when it comes to imaging proteins: the first is to create the right sized protein crystals, and the second is to irradiate them in such a way that they do not disintegrate. Although Sweden has a facility for synchrotron-generated X-ray radiation Maxlab in Lund this type of technology is not sufficiently light-intensive and therefore requires large protein crystals which take several years to produce.

Richard Neutze was one of the researchers to float the idea that it might be possible to image small protein samples using free-electron lasers which emit intensive X-ray radiation in extremely short pulses shorter than the time it takes light to travel the width of a human hair. This kind of facility has been available in California since 2009, and it is this facility that was used for the study.

"Producing small protein crystals is easier and takes less time, so this method is much faster," says Linda Johansson. "We hope that it'll become the standard over the next few years. X-ray free-electron laser facilities are currently under construction in Switzerland, Japan and Germany."

365,000 images

Carried out by researchers from Sweden, Germany and the US, the study investigated a membrane protein from a type of bacterium that lives off sunlight. It is important to investigate membrane proteins as they transport substances through the cell membrane and thus take care of communication with the cell's surroundings and other cells.

"We've managed to create a model of how this protein looks," she says. "The next step is to make films where we can look at the various functions of the protein, for example how it moves during photosynthesis."

A key discovery was that far fewer images are needed to map the protein than previously believed. Using a free-electron laser it is possible to produce around 60 images a second, which meant that the team had over 365,000 images at its disposal. However, just 265 imageswere needed to create a three-dimensional model of the protein.


Contact: Linda Johansson
University of Gothenburg

Related biology news :

1. Jefferson scientists deliver toxic genes to effectively kill pancreatic cancer cells
2. Commercial aquatic plants offer cost-effective method for treating wastewater
3. RNA molecules, delivery system improve vaccine responses, effectiveness
4. Cost-effective farm waste-to-energy technology focus of research
5. New Study Reveals the Emotional Impact and Effectiveness of Negative Campaigning
6. New study indicates smallpox vaccination effective for decades
7. Fractional dose of scarce meningitis vaccine may be effective in outbreak control
8. Flame retardants prove ineffective on fresh-cut Christmas trees
9. Flame retardants prove ineffective on fresh-cut Christmas trees
10. Organic plant waste proves effective weed control for citrus trees
11. Vidalia onions: Alternative to hand-transplanting proven effective
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
More effective method of imaging proteins
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a globally-recognized leader ... today announced that it has been awarded a ... Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation Attack Detection ... "Innovation has been a driving force within Crossmatch ... allow us to innovate and develop new technologies ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 No ... but researchers at the New York University Tandon ... of Engineering have found that partial similarities between ... systems used in mobile phones and other electronic ... The vulnerability lies in the fact ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... , April 6, 2017 Forecasts ... ANPR, Document Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & Logistics, Government ... Oil, Gas & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear Power), Industrial, ... Other) Are you looking for a definitive ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... Lithuania, announced today that they have entered into a multiyear collaboration to identify ... CRISPR researchers with additional tools for gene editing across all applications. , Under ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... San Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... ... ... BioInformatics ( ) has launched Rosalind™, the first-ever genomics analysis platform ... eliminating all bioinformatics complexity. Named in honor of pioneering researcher Rosalind Franklin, ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is back for its 4th year. The ... Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and former FDA office bearers, regulators, industry ... officials from around the world to address key issues in device compliance, quality and ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 11, 2017 , ... Disappearing forests and increased emissions are the main causes ... each year. Especially those living in larger cities are affected by air pollution related ... the most pollution-affected countries globally - decided to take action. , “I knew I ...
Breaking Biology Technology: