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Instruction manual for creating a molecular nose

way around this: they succeeded in incorporating the proteins in an artificial matrix, just as they would be integrated in a natural cell membrane. They achieved this by introducing the developing membrane proteins to artificial lipid membrane systems that mimic natural cell membranes from a statu nascendi, and the membrane proteins actually did simply insert themselves into the artificial membranes. The odorant receptors selected by the researchers were a type of G-protein coupled receptor taken from brown rats. The scientists were also able to prove that the odorant receptors maintained their biological functions by demonstrating the binding of odorants to the receptors. "We now have something akin to an instruction manual on how membrane proteins that were previously difficult to access can be produced and analyzed in their active structure," says Sinner.

The new procedure developed by Eva-Kathrin Sinner and her research group makes it possible, for the first time, to examine the natural functions of such membrane proteins in situ. This is of considerable importance to pharmaceuticals research, as it means that new active agent screenings can now be carried out using receptors that were inaccessible until now. Sinner was awarded the Engelhorn Foundation's 2007 Research Prize for the Promotion of Biotechnology and Gene Technology for the development of this procedure.


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Source:Max-Planck-Gesellschaft


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