Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Notre Dame study focuses on protein dynamics

22.01.2010
A discovery by associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry Brian Baker and his research group at the University of Notre Dame reveals the importance of dynamic motion by proteins involved in the body's immune response. Results of the study were published in Immunity, the leading research journal in the field of immunology.

Scientists have long known that receptors on the immune system's T-cells are important for discovering and destroying cells that are infected with viruses or other pathogens. Baker's group studied cross-reactivity, the ability of different T-cell receptors which number perhaps a few hundred million in the body to recognize the vastly larger number of possible antigens produced by other cells. The process is important for dealing with viruses, cancers, autoimmunity, transplant rejection and other issues related to the immune system.

Most past studies considered the receptors on each cell as static components, but in fact the molecules move and adopt multiple structures. Baker's group found that the success or failure of the T-cell receptor to attach to a target cell's antigen involves complex movements in search of a compatible final structure. Different antigens produce different kinds of motion.

"What we're adding to the equation is how motion is involved," Baker said. "It both complicates as well as simplifies how we think about recognition. Different extents of motion can exist when you have different antigens being presented. It complicates our thinking about how diversity is presented to the immune system, yet simplifies our thinking about how diversity is accommodated by the immune system.

"Overall, we've got to consider flexibility when we think about structures in the immune system and structures in biology in general."

The static view long-favored in structural biology is shifting to a greater emphasis on protein dynamics, he says. For example, scientists have discovered that vaccines can help the immune system fight cancer, but vaccines that mimic biological structures can still fail if they do not take into account flexibility and dynamics.

"It probably will be one of the defining areas of biochemistry over the next 10 to 15 years – getting at the role of how biological molecules move and how that movement influences biology," Baker said.

Contact: Brian Baker, associate professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, brian-baker@nd.edu, 574-631-9810 News

brian baker | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nd.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>