Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Proteins As Parents: Recombining Parts Yields New Mechanical Properties

Date:
August 6, 2006
Source:
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Summary:
A team from the University of British Columbia succeeded in producing proteins with new mechanical properties through the combination of two "parent" protein fragments.

So that we can move, and so that our heart beats, we need proteins with special mechanical properties, "molecular springs", which give our tissues the necessary strength and take care of elasticity and tensibility. Such proteins are also interesting as building blocks for novel high-tech materials because the natural materials often outperform the artificial: One only has to think about the highly elastic and extremely tear-proof spider dragline silk. Molecules with defined mechanical properties are especially needed for the assembly of nanotechnological devices.

A team from the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) succeeded in producing proteins with new mechanical properties through the combination of two "parent" protein fragments.

The research group of Hongbin Li chose two different titin domains from heart muscle for their experiments. Titin, a giant molecule, is responsible for controlling the passive tension of our muscles and also pulls them together again after an extension. Depending on the type of muscle, there are differences: The titin found in heart muscle is less tensile than that found in skeletal muscle and it gives the heart the necessary stability to resist the pressure of the inflowing blood.

As the parent generation, the scientists chose two globular titin domains called I27 and I32, whose mechanical properties have already been intensively researched. Both are similarly built and are composed of the protein segments A, A’, as well as B to G. The researchers interchanged several fragments of the genes that encode I27 and I32 ("DNA shuffling"). Genetically they produced four different protein "children": an I27 with the A’/G strands from I32, an I32 with A’/G from I27, an I27 with C, D, and E from I32, and also an I32 with the C, D, and E strands from I27.

The mechanical properties of all the proteins were investigated with atomic force microscopy. To do this, one end of the protein chain was attached onto a solid support and the other end was adsorbed onto the tip of the atomic force microscope. When the tip is gradually pulled away from the support, the protein elongates and the force increases until the protein finally unfolds. The resultant force–extension curves characterize the mechanical properties of the proteins. It turned out that all children show different mechanical characteristics to their parents. It was previously thought that the specific arrangement of the A’/G section was critical for the mechanical stability of the domain, whereas other parts of the domain, including the C, D, and E strands, only played a less- significant role. This opinion must now be revised.

Li hopes that this exciting new application of the powerful recombination technique in the field of protein mechanics will open a new way to tailor proteins’ mechanical properties.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. "Proteins As Parents: Recombining Parts Yields New Mechanical Properties." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060806083626.htm>.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. (2006, August 6). Proteins As Parents: Recombining Parts Yields New Mechanical Properties. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060806083626.htm
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. "Proteins As Parents: Recombining Parts Yields New Mechanical Properties." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060806083626.htm (accessed September 14, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — Winners of a contest for smart gun design are asking not to be named after others in the industry received threats for marketing similar products. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Captured The Sound Of An Atom

Scientists Have Captured The Sound Of An Atom

Newsy (Sep. 12, 2014) — Scientists have captured the sound of a single atom by measuring its vibrations. We can't hear it, but it's reportedly the faintest sound possible. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Flare Surges Off Sun

Solar Flare Surges Off Sun

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 11, 2014) — NASA captures video of a significant flare surging off the sun. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
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