Navigation Links
Unfolding 'nature's origami'
Date:3/2/2009

Sometimes known as "nature's origami", the way that proteins fold is vital to ensuring they function correctly. But researchers at the University of Leeds have discovered this is a 'hit and miss' process, with proteins potentially folding wrongly many times before they form the correct structure for their intended purpose.

The body's proteins carry out numerous functions and play a crucial role in the growth, repair and workings of cells. Sheena Radford, Professor of Structural Molecular Biology at the University of Leeds, says: "There's a fine balance between a protein folding into the correct shape so that it can carry out its job efficiently and it folding incorrectly, which can lead to disease. Just one wrong step can tip that balance."

Proteins are made of amino acids arranged in a linear chain and the sequence of these amino acids is determined by the gene producing them. How these chains of amino acids are preprogrammed to fold into their correct protein structure is one of the mysteries of life.

The culmination of many years' work, the collaborative study looked at the Im7 protein, a simple protein which is present in bacteria and has a crucial role to play in ensuring that bacteria do not kill themselves with the toxins they produce.

"Im7 is like an anti-suicide agent," says Professor Radford. "We studied it partly because of its simplicity and partly because of the known evolutionary pressure on the protein to fold correctly to enable the bacteria to survive."

The study has revealed that these proteins misfold en route to their intended structure, and importantly, has shown the forces at work during the folding process. While the chain of amino acids determines which shape a protein needs to take, the researchers discovered that it was the very amino acids central to the protein's function that were causing the misfolding.

"This breakthrough could have huge implications for understanding the evolution of today's protein sequences and in determining the balance between heath and disease," says Professor Radford. "It's fundamental science, but significant for our understanding of the mechanisms at work in the human body."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jo Kelly
jokelly@campuspr.co.uk
44-113-258-9880
University of Leeds
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Cancer signatures uncovered
2. Dartmouth researchers discover gene signatures for scleroderma
3. Entrust Digital Signatures Help Secure More Than 18 Million U.S. ePassports
4. Micro-origami: USC folds up micrometer-scale voxels for drug delivery
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/13/2017)... , Feb. 13, 2017 Former 9/11 Commission ... Judiciary Committee, Janice Kephart of Identity Strategy ... Donald Trump,s "Executive Order: Protecting the Nation ... 27, 2017):  "As President Trump,s ,Travel Ban, ... has now essentially banned the travel ban, it is ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... YORK , Feb. 7, 2017 Report Highlights ... The ... should reach $11.4 billion by 2021, growing at a compound ... Includes - An overview of the global markets for synthetic ... 2015, estimates for 2016, and projections of compound annual growth ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... February 7, 2017 Ipsidy Inc. ... Corporation [OTC: IDGS], ("Ipsidy" or the "Company") a provider ... processing services, is pleased to announce the following changes ... Effective January 31, 2017, Philip D. Beck ... CEO and President.  An experienced payment industry professional and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... , Feb. 24, 2017  OncoSec Medical Incorporated ... immunotherapies, will host a Key Opinion Leader event to ... an oral and poster presentation at the upcoming 2017 ... The KOL event will be held in-person and via ... EST / 9:00 AM PST at the Lotte New ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... JOSE, Calif. , Feb. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... exclusive license for two key immunotherapy technologies from ... first technology provides a method to monitor a ... such as PD-L1 and CTLA-4.  The second license ... if a patient is likely to have an ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... today that in a published evaluation of multiple immunoassay-based threat detection technologies ... of Energy Laboratory, PathSensors’ CANARY® biosensor threat detection technology was found to ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Aviva Systems Biology Corporation (ASB) which ... GenWay Biotech Incorporated, a protein solutions and applications ... for both the research and diagnostic markets. ... capabilities for both entities. GenWay,s 18 years of experience ... complement ASB,s objective to become a leading provider ...
Breaking Biology Technology: