Proteins, like people, act differently when packed together

December 3rd, 2010 - 6:00 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Dec 03 (ANI): Researchers are pursuing a remarkable parallel that, they believe, exists among the proteins involved in health and disease inside living cells.

The study of proteins crowded together inside cells is opening new doors to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease.

The article appears in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS’ weekly newsmagazine.

C&EN Senior Editor Celia Henry Arnaud notes that much of the scientific knowledge about proteins comes from research done in watered-down solutions, as if they had much of an airplane or cell to themselves.

But cells are packed with proteins, which fill about 30 percent of a cell’s volume. In order to understand proteins’ actual role, scientists must study proteins under these jam-packed conditions.

The article describes how scientists are forging ahead with research that mimics the real-world conditions under which proteins function in cells.

One discovery, for example, indicates that under crowded conditions, a protein involved in Lyme disease changes shape in a way that reveals a potential new target for diagnosing and treating the disease. (ANI)

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