Chemistry Times
Recent News |  Archives |  Tags |  About |  Newsletter |  Submit News |  Links |  Subscribe to ChemistryTimes.com RSS Feed Subscribe


More Articles
Zombie ant fungi manipulate hosts to die on the 'doorstep' of the colonyZombie ant fungi manipulate hosts to die on the 'doorstep' of the colony

More than just X and Y: A new genetic basis for sex determinationMore than just X and Y: A new genetic basis for sex determination

Fascinating rhythm: Light pulses illuminate a rare black holeFascinating rhythm: Light pulses illuminate a rare black hole

Stem cells reveal how illness-linked genetic variation affects neuronsStem cells reveal how illness-linked genetic variation affects neurons

Abusive leadership infects entire teamAbusive leadership infects entire team

Water and sunlight the formula for sustainable fuelWater and sunlight the formula for sustainable fuel

Hot-spring bacteria reveal ability to use far-red light for photosynthesisHot-spring bacteria reveal ability to use far-red light for photosynthesis

Shaping the future of nanocrystalsShaping the future of nanocrystals

Proteins: New class of materials discoveredProteins: New class of materials discovered

'Just right' plant growth may make river deltas resilient'Just right' plant growth may make river deltas resilient

Study suggests hatha yoga boosts brain function in older adultsStudy suggests hatha yoga boosts brain function in older adults

Program earns kudos for improving grades, retaining studentsProgram earns kudos for improving grades, retaining students

Has the puzzle of rapid climate change in the last ice age been solved?Has the puzzle of rapid climate change in the last ice age been solved?

Common household chemicals decrease reproduction in mice, study findsCommon household chemicals decrease reproduction in mice, study finds

Lithium-based neutron detector named among Top 100 technologies of the yearLithium-based neutron detector named among Top 100 technologies of the year

A self-organizing thousand-robot swarmA self-organizing thousand-robot swarm

Diamonds are a quantum computer's best friendDiamonds are a quantum computer's best friend

Our ancestor's 'leaky' membrane answers big questions in biologyOur ancestor's 'leaky' membrane answers big questions in biology

Crash-testing rivetsCrash-testing rivets

Scientists discover the miracle of how geckos move, cling to ceilingsScientists discover the miracle of how geckos move, cling to ceilings

Photo editing algorithm changes weather, seasons automaticallyPhoto editing algorithm changes weather, seasons automatically

Geography matters: Model predicts how local 'shocks' influence U.S. economyGeography matters: Model predicts how local 'shocks' influence U.S. economy

Shrinking dinosaurs evolved into flying birdsShrinking dinosaurs evolved into flying birds

Running for life: How speed restricts evolutionary change of the vertebral columnRunning for life: How speed restricts evolutionary change of the vertebral column

A healthy lifestyle adds years to lifeA healthy lifestyle adds years to life

Do probiotics help kids with stomach bugs?Do probiotics help kids with stomach bugs?

Strict diet suspends development, doubles lifespan of wormsStrict diet suspends development, doubles lifespan of worms

Identified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonationIdentified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonation

Copied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithmsCopied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithms

Faster protein folding achieved through nanosecond pressure jump (6/3/2009)

Tags:
proteins
Martin Gruebele, the James R. Eiszner Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois and corresponding author of the paper, says that prodding proteins to fold by suddenly removing high pressure (a technique also known as 'pressure jumping') through electrical bursting makes for a 'kindler, gentler way' of inducing proteins to fold. -  L. Brian Stauffer
Martin Gruebele, the James R. Eiszner Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois and corresponding author of the paper, says that prodding proteins to fold by suddenly removing high pressure (a technique also known as 'pressure jumping') through electrical bursting makes for a 'kindler, gentler way' of inducing proteins to fold. - L. Brian Stauffer

A new method to induce protein folding by taking the pressure off of proteins is up to 100 times faster than previous methods, and could help guide more accurate computer simulations for how complex proteins fold, according to research by a team of University of Illinois scientists accepted for publication in the journal Nature Methods and posted on the journal's Web site May 31.

Martin Gruebele, the James R. Eiszner Professor of Chemistry at the U. of I. and corresponding author of the paper, says that prodding proteins to fold by suddenly removing high pressure (a technique also known as "pressure jumping") through electrical bursting makes for a "kindler, gentler way" of inducing proteins to fold.

"When you're increasing the pressure on something, you're squeezing the atoms and making them come closer to one another," Gruebele said, "but you're not necessarily causing the very complicated changes to the microscopic motion that occur when you change the temperature. Pressure is a simpler variable than temperature."

In order to carry out their biomolecular functions, proteins fold from a chaotic, random coil that looks like spaghetti strands floating in boiling water to their native state as an orderly, well-defined but compact structure.

From the point-of-view of the protein, Gruebele said, pressurizing it to about 2,500 atmospheres is much less disruptive than, say, cranking up the temperature by 30 degrees.

"Temperature is a pretty complicated variable in that it involves random motion at a microscopic level," Gruebele said. "When you perturb a protein by raising its temperature, its chains completely unravel, and it might take longer for it to collapse back down to the folded structure."

To induce protein folding, a sample contained in a sapphire cube covered by a small steel diaphragm is pressurized to several thousand atmospheres, causing the biomolecules to unfold. A powerful electrical current then bursts the diaphragm, which releases the pressure and produces a sub-microsecond pressure drop. The proteins re-fold, and are monitored through laser-excited fluorescence.

Gruebele's electrical-bursting method also allowed for a miniaturization of the apparatus, which improved the speed and sample volume of the diaphragm design. That, in turn, allows for a better comparison between how proteins fold in vitro in the lab versus how a computer algorithm would predict how they would fold.

After the pressure is applied, the proteins were able to re-fold or "spring back" to their native-state structures "much more readily than if we had heated them and cooled them down," Gruebele said.

Applying pressure to induce protein folding is not a novel laboratory technique. According to Gruebele, previous methods using electrically controlled valves, piezoelectric constriction and burst diaphragms weren't fast enough or didn't produce enough pressure to generate viable data on the microsecond timescale.

To reach the realm of simulation-worthy data, "you need hundreds of nanoseconds to a few microseconds worth of data-capture time," Gruebele said. With the previous methods, "we weren't close to the timeframe where you could perform computer simulations, right now or in the near future."

Ultimately, being able to feed experiment-generated data into a computer simulation will lead to better computer forecasts about how proteins fold, Gruebele said.

"By putting experiments and computer simulations together, we're going to be able to predict how proteins fold much more quickly and reliably," he said.

Gruebele, who is also a researcher at the Beckman Institute, believes that scientists will eventually be able to perform computer simulations of protein folding that are accurate enough predictors of folding so that "if you had a protein involved in a disease and its structure wasn't known, you could go to the computer and model how it behaves."

For example, when certain proteins in the brain mutate, that can lead to Alzheimer's disease, Gruebele said.

"The structures of proteins are ultimately what's responsible for their function," he said. "Changes to their structure often cause abnormal functions. That's why we want to understand protein structures, and be able to model how they change."

Gruebele said that computer simulations already yield a pretty accurate picture of a given small organic molecule. But with this new method that breaks the microsecond barrier, "we've just opened up a whole new world of proteins for study," he said.

"There are only a handful of proteins that we know about that would fold by temperature jumps or other methods in a couple of microseconds," Gruebele said. "But there are many proteins that do it in hundreds of microseconds, and that could be sped up to a few microseconds by pressure jumps."

Gruebele said that if you want to improve computer simulations of protein folding so that they're 99.9 percent reliable - so reliable that a medical doctor could trust the results - you need many test cases. And if you need lots of test cases, you need to be able to run computer simulations quickly, Gruebele said.

"This experiment enables a greater number of proteins to be tested by simulations and experiments simultaneously, which will push forward the agenda of getting computer simulations that are more reliable and faster," Gruebele said.

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Post Comments:

Search
New Articles
Bubbling down: Discovery suggests surprising uses for common bubblesBubbling down: Discovery suggests surprising uses for common bubbles

Organic photovoltaic cells of the futureOrganic photovoltaic cells of the future

Researchers block plant hormoneResearchers block plant hormone

Recycling old batteries into solar cells

Scripps Research Institute chemists uncover powerful new click chemistry reactivityScripps Research Institute chemists uncover powerful new click chemistry reactivity

Novel chip-based platform could simplify measurements of single molecules

Engineer turns metal into glass

Copper foam turns carbon dioxide into useful chemicalsCopper foam turns carbon dioxide into useful chemicals

Foam favorable for oil extractionFoam favorable for oil extraction

Therapy for ultraviolet laser beams: Hydrogen-treated fibersTherapy for ultraviolet laser beams: Hydrogen-treated fibers

Researchers prove stability of wonder material silicene

Scientists enhance synthesis of chromium dioxide (100) epitaxial thin film growthScientists enhance synthesis of chromium dioxide (100) epitaxial thin film growth

Origami could lead to exotic materials, tiny transformers

Researchers uncover novel process for creation of fuel and chemical compounds

Diamond defect interior designDiamond defect interior design



Archives
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007


Science Friends
Agricultural Science
Astronomy News
Sports Tech
Biology News
Biomimicry Science
Cognitive Research
Tissue Engineering
Cancer Research
Cybernetics Research
Electonics Research
Forensics Report
Fossil News
Genetic Archaeology
Genetics News
Geology News
Microbiology Research
Nanotech News
Parenting News
Physics News


  Archives |  Submit News |  Advertise With Us |  Contact Us |  Links
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. All contents © 2000 - 2015 Web Doodle, LLC. All rights reserved.