Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Conserved Amino Acids Play Both Structural And Mechanistic Roles In Sandwich-like Protein

Date:
March 17, 2005
Source:
Rice University
Summary:
The question of whether amino acids in sandwich-like proteins are there to stabilize the structure or to speed up the protein-folding process is best answered by "all of the above," according to researchers at Rice University in Houston.

The question of whether amino acids in sandwich-like proteins are there to stabilize the structure or to speed up the protein-folding process is best answered by "all of the above," according to researchers at Rice University in Houston.

Related Articles


This discovery, reported in today's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could benefit future research on treatments for diseases related to misfolded proteins, such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's.

The Rice scientists studied azurin – a copper-containing protein essential to electron transfer. Azurin is part of a group of proteins that fold into a sandwich-like structure consisting of two sheets of amino acids meshed together. Nearly 70 superfamilies of proteins of varying makeup have this sandwich-like structure, but they all have eight particular amino acids in common. Previous studies had shown that these eight amino acids were important to define the sandwich-like structure, but the exact role was unknown.

"Why are these eight amino acids invariant across all sandwich-like proteins?" asked principal investigator Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, associate professor of biochemistry and cell biology. "Are they conserved to direct the protein-folding reaction, or are they selected to stabilize the final protein structure? In our paper, we unravel an unprecedented answer to this question."

Wittung-Stafshede and graduate student Corey Wilson analyzed the purpose of six of the eight amino acids by exchanging a nonessential amino acid for each of them and monitoring the effect on the protein structure. (For technical reasons, the other two amino acids could not be studied.) The researchers found that three of the amino acids are important for stabilizing the final structure of the protein, and three serve to direct the process of protein folding.

"We directly demonstrated that in one protein within the large sandwich-like protein family, evolution has indeed preserved amino acids for mechanical reasons," Wittung-Stafshede said. "We believe that our discovery is novel and that it gives important new insight into the interplay between protein evolution, structure and folding."

The researchers speculate that their conclusions about the azurin protein apply to most members of the sandwich-like protein family, but testing on other specific proteins must confirm that.

"Better understanding of protein folding is crucial for curing human diseases directly related to misfolding of proteins, and it is also important for the design and improvement of therapeutic enzymes," Wittung-Stafshede said.

###

The National Institutes of Health supported the research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rice University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rice University. "Conserved Amino Acids Play Both Structural And Mechanistic Roles In Sandwich-like Protein." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050310103922.htm>.
Rice University. (2005, March 17). Conserved Amino Acids Play Both Structural And Mechanistic Roles In Sandwich-like Protein. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050310103922.htm
Rice University. "Conserved Amino Acids Play Both Structural And Mechanistic Roles In Sandwich-like Protein." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050310103922.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Elon Musk's Hyperloop Moves Forward

Elon Musk's Hyperloop Moves Forward

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) Zipping around at 800-miles an hour is coming closer to reality in California. An entire town is being built around Elon Musk&apos;s Hyperloop concept and it wants you to stop in for a ride when it&apos;s ready. Brett Larson is on board. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vibrating Bicycle Senses Traffic

Vibrating Bicycle Senses Traffic

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 26, 2015) Dutch scientists have developed a smart bicycle that uses sensors, wireless technology and video to warn riders of traffic dangers. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Japan, Robot Dogs Are for Life -- And Death

In Japan, Robot Dogs Are for Life -- And Death

AFP (Feb. 25, 2015) Robot dogs are the perfect pet for some in Japan who go to repairmen-turned-vets when their pooch breaks down - while a full Buddhist funeral ceremony awaits those who don&apos;t make it. Duration: 02:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
London Show Dissects History of Forensic Science

London Show Dissects History of Forensic Science

AFP (Feb. 25, 2015) Forensic science, which has fascinated generations with its unravelling of gruesome crime mysteries, is being put under the microscope in an exhibition of real criminal investigations in London. Duration: 00:53 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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