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A heart-shaped protein

Date:
February 11, 2016
Source:
NIH, National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Summary:
From cookies and candies to balloons and cards, heart-shaped items abound this time of year. They're even in our blood. It turns out that the most abundant protein molecule in blood plasma--serum albumin (SA)--is shaped very much like a heart.
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The structure of the serum albumin protein is shaped like a heart.
Credit: Wladek Minor, University of Virginia

From cookies and candies to balloons and cards, heart-shaped items abound this time of year. They're even in our blood. It turns out that the most abundant protein molecule in blood plasma -- serum albumin (SA) -- is shaped very much like a heart.

This protein does an astounding array of tasks in our bodies, such as maintaining normal fluid pressure in our tissues and transporting many different types of molecules in our blood.

By studying the structural features of various human and nonhuman SAs, researchers are gaining insights into the protein's versatile roles and possible ways to harness them, such as to carry drugs to places where they're needed in the body.

To learn more about why and how scientists study the shapes of biological molecules, read the structural biology fact sheet from NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences: https://www.nigms.nih.gov/Education/pages/Factsheet_StructuralBiology.aspx


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Materials provided by NIH, National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


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NIH, National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). "A heart-shaped protein." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160211133914.htm>.
NIH, National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). (2016, February 11). A heart-shaped protein. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 24, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160211133914.htm
NIH, National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). "A heart-shaped protein." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160211133914.htm (accessed September 24, 2016).