Navigation Links
UCLA physicists report nanotechnology feat with proteins

The new measurements, by UCLA physics professor Giovanni Zocchi and former UCLA physics graduate student Yong Wang, are approximately 100 times higher in resolution than previous mechanical measurements, a nanotechnology feat which reveals an isolated protein molecule, surprisingly, is neither a solid nor a liquid. "Proteins are the molecular machines of life, the molecules we are made of," Zocchi said. "We have found that sometimes they behave as a solid and sometimes as a liquid.

"Solids have a shape while liquids flow for simple materials at low stresses. However, for complex materials, or large stresses, the behavior can be in-between. Subjected to mechanical forces, a material might be elastic and store mechanical energy (simple solid), viscous and dissipate mechanical energy (simple fluid), or visco-elastic and both store and dissipate mechanical energy (complex solid, complex fluid). The viscoelastic behavior characteristic of more complex matter had not been clearly seen before on isolated proteins because mechanical measurements tend to destroy the proteins."

Zocchi and Wang's new nanotechnology method allowed them to apply stresses and probe the mechanics of the protein without destroying it. Wang, now a physics postdoctoral fellow at the University of Illinois in UrbanaChampaign, and Zocchi discovered a "transition to a viscoelastic regime in the mechanical response" of the protein.

"Below the transition, the protein responds elastically, like a spring," Zocchi said. "Above the transition, the protein flows like a viscous liquid. However, the transition is reversible if the stress is removed. Functional conformational changes of enzymes (changes in the shape of the molecule) must typically operate across this transition."

The measurements were performed on the enzyme guanylate kinase, or GK, a member of an essential class of enzymes called kinases. Specifically, GK transfers a phosphate group from ATP (the universal "fuel" of the cell) to GMP, producing GDP, an essential metabolic component, Zocchi said.

The study on the characterization of the "visco-elastic transition" is reported this month in the online journal PLoS ONE, a publication of the Public Library of Science. The research was federally funded by the National Science Foundation's division of materials research and by a grant from the University of California Lab Research Program.

Zocchi and Wang published related findings earlier this year in the journal Europhysics Letters, a publication of the European Physical Society, and the journal Physical Review Letters.

In previous research, Zocchi and colleagues reported a significant step in controlling chemical reactions mechanically last year, made a significant step toward a new approach to protein engineering in 2006, created a mechanism at the nanoscale to externally control the function and action of a protein in 2005, and created a first-of-its-kind nanoscale sensor using a single molecule less than 20 nanometers long in 2003. A nanometer is roughly 2,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

Contact: Stuart Wolpert
University of California - Los Angeles

Related biology technology :

1. UCSB physicists identify room temperature quantum bits in widely used semiconductor
2. Physicists to develop new way of electronic computing
3. UCSB physicists demonstrate the quantum von Neumann architecture
4. Penn physicists undo the coffee ring effect
5. Penn physicists observe campfire effect in blinking nanorod semiconductors
6. Physicists measure current-induced torque in nonvolatile magnetic memory devices
7. Penn physicists develop scalable method for making graphene
8. Physicists isolate bound states in graphene-superconductor junctions
9. UCSB physicists challenge classical world with quantum-mechanical implementation of shell game
10. Physicists take new look at the atom
11. Rice physicists discover ultrasensitive microwave detector
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a ... discoveries to the medical community, has closed its Series ... Matthew Nunez . "We have received a ... the capital we need to meet our current goals," ... provide us the runway to complete validation on the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, the ... the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.27% lower to finish ... 0.17%. has initiated coverage on the following equities: Infinity ... NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ... ). Learn more about these stocks by accessing their free ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Prairie, WI (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 ... ... consultancy focused on quality, regulatory and technical consulting, provides a free webinar ... is presented on July 13, 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) today ... life sciences incubator to accelerate the development of ... space at QB3@953 was created to help high-potential life ... many early stage organizations - access to laboratory infrastructure. ... launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, providing each winner ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/31/2016)... R.I. , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm ... of founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who ... members of the original technical leadership team, including Chief ... President of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President ... returned to the company. Dr. Bready served ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... 2016 Einzigartige ... und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern     ... MESG ), ein führender Anbieter digitaler Kommunikationsdienste, ... SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals dessen Biometrietechnologie einzusetzen. ... Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen mobiler Apps neben ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... Ontario , PROVO and ... Newborn Screening Ontario (NSO), which operates the ... for molecular testing, and Tute Genomics and UNIConnect, ... management technology respectively, today announced the launch of a ... next-generation sequencing (NGS) testing panel. NSO ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):