Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How electricity moves through cells: Finding has implications for improving energy efficiency

Date:
March 12, 2010
Source:
University of Minnesota
Summary:
Researchers have created a molecular image of a system that moves electrons between proteins in cells. The achievement is a breakthrough for biology and could provide insights to minimize energy loss in other systems, from nanoscale devices to moving electricity around the country.

This illustration shows the molecular details of a multi-protein battery and wire that generates and conducts biological electricity.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Minnesota

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have created a molecular image of a system that moves electrons between proteins in cells. The achievement is a breakthrough for biology and could provide insights to minimize energy loss in other systems, from nanoscale devices to moving electricity around the country.

Related Articles


The research, led by Carrie Wilmot, an associate professor in the College of Biological Sciences, is published in the March 12 issue of Science.

"Evolution has been fine-tuning electricity in organisms for a lot longer than humans have been using it," Wilmot says. "We can learn a lot from nature about how to use it more efficiently. This new glimpse at how the body uses electricity could lead to nanotechnology to shrink electronic circuitry even further or a more efficient grid to provide power to homes and businesses."

Energy generated by intracellular movement of electrons is the fundamental power source that enables humans to exist. As electrons move within cells, energy is channeled to create complex molecules, such as protein and DNA. These are the building materials that enable organisms to grow, maintain themselves, and store energy. Wilmot's images, obtained using x-ray crystallography, will advance the effort to understand this process better.

"Obtaining a crystal structure of a complex cellular electron transfer system is like being behind stage at a magic show," says Vernon Anderson, who oversees biochemistry grants at the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of General Medical Sciences. "We have always known there was a trick, but now the Wilmot group has provided a unique view of how this extraordinary chemical feat is accomplished."

Wilmot, an associate professor in the College of Biological Sciences, is known in the scientific community for pioneering a technique to freeze biological catalysts (enzymes) as they accelerate and orchestrate chemical reactions. This produces snapshots at different points during the reaction that can be viewed as frames in a movie that defines the molecular and structural changes that occur as the chemistry unfolds.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Lyndal M. R. Jensen, Ruslan Sanishvili, Victor L. Davidson, Carrie M. Wilmot. In Crystallo Posttranslational Modification Within a MauG/Pre-Methylamine Dehydrogenase Complex. Science, 2010; 327 (5971): 1392 DOI: 10.1126/science.1182492

Cite This Page:

University of Minnesota. "How electricity moves through cells: Finding has implications for improving energy efficiency." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100311175045.htm>.
University of Minnesota. (2010, March 12). How electricity moves through cells: Finding has implications for improving energy efficiency. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100311175045.htm
University of Minnesota. "How electricity moves through cells: Finding has implications for improving energy efficiency." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100311175045.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A California-based startup has designed new law enforcement technology that aims to automatically alert dispatch when an officer's gun is unholstered and fired. Two law enforcement agencies are currently testing the technology. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
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