Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UCSB Physicist Devises Way To Observe Protein Folding

Date:
October 9, 2003
Source:
University Of California - Santa Barbara
Summary:
Physicists are getting more involved in the fight against diseases by studying the folding of proteins, which they hope will eventually lead to the development of new drugs. Illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and even some cancers are the result of protein folding that has gone awry. Since proteins in the body perform different functions according to their shape, the folding process is considered a very important area of study.

Santa Barbara, Calif. –– Physicists are getting more involved in the fight against diseases by studying the folding of proteins, which they hope will eventually lead to the development of new drugs. Illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and even some cancers are the result of protein folding that has gone awry. Since proteins in the body perform different functions according to their shape, the folding process is considered a very important area of study.

Everett Lipman, a new assistant professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, recently co-authored an article in the journal Science, describing an innovative study of how to "see" proteins as they fold, the result of experiments performed with co-workers at the National Institutes of Health.

The machinery of life arises from interactions between protein molecules, whose functions depend on the three-dimensional shapes into which they fold, said Lipman. Although proteins are composed of just 20 different building blocks (the amino acids), the process by which a given sequence of these components adopts its unique structure is complex and poorly understood. Folding proteins are too small to view with a microscope, so the researchers used a method called Forster Resonance Energy Transfer, or FRET, to study them. Using a microfabricated silicon device and a microfluidic mixing technique, they were able to observe single protein molecules at various times after folding was triggered.

Two small molecules of fluorescent dye (red and green) were applied to amino acids in the protein. When the green dye was excited by a laser, it either emitted green light or transferred the energy to the red dye, causing it to light up. The green dye is a photon donor and the red dye is a photon acceptor. If the two dyes are close together, more red is emitted as the energy is transferred easily to the red. If they are far apart, more green light is emitted. The fraction of red counts shows how efficient the energy transfer is, which shows how close the ends of the molecule are to each other. By taking a sequence of measurements as the protein folds up, scientists can get a "picture" of the folding.

The group was the first to perform these single molecule measurements in microfluidic mixtures. "Once we have more understanding of the folding process, it will fill in a huge gap in our knowledge of how biological systems work," said Lipman. "However it will be a long time before this knowledge can be applied."

Lipman explained, "The fantastic advances in biology during the last century have brought us to the point where we have working knowledge of many fundamental processes. There remain, however, numerous details and enormous complexity of function and interaction that we have yet to comprehend. It has been the case in the past that the most precise information about biomolecular machinery has been uncovered using techniques of experimental physics, such as magnetic resonance and x-ray crystallography. As we progress toward understanding proteins and nucleic acids as complex physical systems, this will no doubt remain true."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California - Santa Barbara. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California - Santa Barbara. "UCSB Physicist Devises Way To Observe Protein Folding." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 October 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031009064505.htm>.
University Of California - Santa Barbara. (2003, October 9). UCSB Physicist Devises Way To Observe Protein Folding. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031009064505.htm
University Of California - Santa Barbara. "UCSB Physicist Devises Way To Observe Protein Folding." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031009064505.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

AP (July 18, 2014) The Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Newsy (July 18, 2014) The wreckage of the German submarine U-166 has become clearly visible for the first time since it was discovered in 2001. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Reuters - US Online Video (July 17, 2014) President Barak Obama stopped by at a lunch counter in Delaware before making remarks about boosting the nation's infrastructure. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

TheStreet (July 16, 2014) Oil Futures are bouncing back after tumbling below $100 a barrel for the first time since May yesterday. Jeff Grossman is the president of BRG Brokerage and trades at the NYMEX. Grossman tells TheStreet the Middle East is always a concern for oil traders. Oil prices were pushed down in recent weeks on Libya increasing its production. Supply disruptions in Iraq fading also contributed to prices falling. News from China's economic front showing a growth for the second quarter also calmed fears on its slowdown. Jeff Grossman talks to TheStreet's Susannah Lee on this and more on the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins