Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Measuring protein movements with nanosecond resolution

Date:
March 19, 2010
Source:
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Summary:
Researchers who developed a method for observing nanosecond-scale movements of proteins have used it to distinguish two structural forms where only one was known. The experiments focused on HP35 in the protein villin, which contributes to cells' stability by linking actin filaments. More generally, the results suggest that this method, based on fast electron transfer between different parts of a protein, could help unlock the mechanisms behind folding and misfolding of proteins.

Researchers at the Department of Chemistry at the Technische Universitδt Mόnchen (TUM) have developed a method that allows the observation of local movements in proteins on a time scale of nanoseconds to microseconds. Upon examining movements of the protein villin using this method they found two structures that were otherwise barely distinguishable from one another. Quick nanosecond-scale structure changes essential for the protein function can take place in the one, while the other remains rigid.

Related Articles


These results have been published in the online issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA (PNAS).

One of the five most important proteins in a cell is actin. Its filaments hold the cell together and keep its key components in their places. The protein villin links the actin filaments and thus contributes significantly to the stabilization of cell structures. Because of its small size, HP35, the part of the villin protein responsible for binding the actin filaments, has been the subject of numerous computer simulations aimed at understanding protein dynamics. However, there have been no experimental studies, as these protein movements take place on a scale of microseconds and even nanoseconds -- a time scale that has, for all intents and purposes, eluded experimental access, until now.

A method developed by Professor Thomas Kiefhaber's work group, based on fast electron transfer between the different parts of a protein, now makes it possible for the first time to directly examine fast structural changes. They selected the actin-binding part of the villin protein, HP35, as a model system. The new experimental work by Thomas Kiefhaber's team has shown that the folded protein is available in two conformations that are very similar structurally, but display decidedly different dynamic properties. While significant structural changes are not possible in a rigid conformation, flexible conformations allow parts of the protein responsible for binding actin to fold and unfold on a time scale of 100 nanoseconds.

The two conformations are in equilibrium and transform into one another within one microsecond. The structural similarity of the two conformations explains why they were not previously discovered -- neither in structural examinations nor in computer simulations. Using time-resolved electron transfer measurements it is now possible to differentiate between and characterize the different states based on their different motilities.

The insights from this study are fundamental to understanding the function of proteins and will help shed light of the mechanisms behind the folding and misfolding of proteins. The scientists now hope to further develop this method in order to apply it to larger proteins important for the regulation of cell functions.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Reiner et al. An unlocking/relocking barrier in conformational fluctuations of villin headpiece subdomain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0910001107

Cite This Page:

Technische Universitaet Muenchen. "Measuring protein movements with nanosecond resolution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100315162054.htm>.
Technische Universitaet Muenchen. (2010, March 19). Measuring protein movements with nanosecond resolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100315162054.htm
Technische Universitaet Muenchen. "Measuring protein movements with nanosecond resolution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100315162054.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) — Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) — The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
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

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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