Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Crystal structure shows how motor protein works

Date:
September 21, 2011
Source:
University of California - Davis
Summary:
The crystal structure of the dynamin protein -- one of the molecular machines that makes cells work -- has been revealed, bringing insights into a class of molecules with a wide influence on health and disease.

The crystal structure of the dynamin protein -- one of the molecular machines that makes cells work -- has been revealed, bringing insights into a class of molecules with a wide influence on health and disease.

"It's a really cool structure," said Jodi Nunnari, professor and chair of molecular and cellular biology at UC Davis and senior author of the paper, is published Sept. 18 in the journal Nature. "This is a really important class of molecules for regulating membrane dynamics."

The detailed structure reveals exactly how the dynamin protein can form large assemblies that pinch off bubbles, or vesicles, from cell membranes. These vesicles allow a cell to "eat" proteins, liquids or other items from the outside, compartmentalize them and move them around within itself.

Marijn Ford, a postdoctoral scholar in Nunnari's laboratory, mapped the crystal structure of dynamin-1 in collaboration with Simon Jenni, a research fellow at Harvard University.

Dynamin belongs to a large family of proteins that, in the right conditions, can self-assemble into larger structures and generate force. Those properties of self-assembly and movement can be harnessed in the cell for different functions.

Dynamin-1 itself is involved in making vesicles in nerve cells at the points where nerves form connections, or synapses, with each other. Nerve cells communicate through chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) that are released from and taken up by vesicles. Altering the balance of these messengers can affect mental function. For example, an important class of antidepressant drugs works by affecting the uptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin.

The new crystal structure shows exactly how the individual dynamin proteins can line up to form a helix, and then move by ratcheting alongside each other.

It also shows that part of the protein can interact with lipids in cell membranes. That could allow different types of dynamin protein to interact with subtly different types of membrane, specializing their function.

Understanding these miniature motors also might make it possible one day to engineer cells that can do new and different tasks, Nunnari said.

The work was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Marijn G. J. Ford, Simon Jenni, Jodi Nunnari. The crystal structure of dynamin. Nature, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nature10441

Cite This Page:

University of California - Davis. "Crystal structure shows how motor protein works." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110918144928.htm>.
University of California - Davis. (2011, September 21). Crystal structure shows how motor protein works. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110918144928.htm
University of California - Davis. "Crystal structure shows how motor protein works." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110918144928.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Next Stop America for France's TGV?

Next Stop America for France's TGV?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 24, 2014) General Electric keeps quiet on reports it's in talks to buy French turbine and train maker Alstom. Ivor Bennett reports on what could be an embarrassing rumour for the French government, with business-friendly reforms proving a hard sell. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot

Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) President Obama briefly played soccer with a robot during his visit to Japan on Thursday. The President has been emphasizing technology along with security concerns during his visit. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Encourages Japanese Student-Scientists

Obama Encourages Japanese Student-Scientists

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) President Obama spoke with student innovators in Japan and urged them to take part in increased opportunities for student exchanges with the US. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 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:
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