Scientists are pursuing a remarkable parallel that exists among the proteins involved in health and disease inside living cells. The cover story in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine, focuses on how the study of proteins crowded together inside cells is opening new doors to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease.
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.
ARTICLE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE "Close Quarters"
This story is available at http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/88/8848cover.html
Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
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