The water molecules, which generally move around like disco dancers in their collective network motions behave more like in a neat minuet under protein influence. The group by Prof. Dr. Martina Havenith-Newen (Physical Chemistry II Dpt., RUB) managed to find out more about the rules of this dance. They could show that protein folding changes the dancing steps of the water.
A partly unfolded protein will affect water molecules within the dynamical hydration shell to a much less extent than a folded one does. The higher the flexibility of the protein, the less affected is the water. The scientists present their conclusions as a “communication“ in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Protein Creates Order in Water
In water, weak bonds between two adjacent water molecules, referred to as the hydrogen bridge bonds, are continuously opening and closing: this happens on average every 1.3 pico seconds (one pico second = 10 power -12 seconds). “Even small concentrations of proteins in water lead to measurable changes in collective movements“, Prof. Havenith-Newen explains the results of previous studies with THz spectroscopy.
The Folding is the Important Thing
While the folded protein affects up to 1,000 water molecules in its environment, this is only true for the partly unfolded protein to a small extent. If one modifies some parts of the protein through mutation, the effect is less remarkable. These observations were now made by the scientific teams of Prof. Havenith-Newen, Prof. Dr. Martin Gruebele, and Prof. Dr. David M. Leitner from RUB, the University of Illinois and the University of Nevada, respectively. “This shows that water in the environment of folded proteins is different from that in the environment of an unfolded protein“, Prof. Havenith-Newen concludes. ”This will further support the hypothesis that protein and water are not independent of each other and do influence each other – an effect which has been considered decisive for protein folding, and which may be highly important for protein functions.“
New, Highly Precise Method of Proof
THz spectroscopy is a new, especially sensitive method of observing fast water network movement in the close vicinity of proteins with the THz frequencies ranging between microwave and infrared frequencies. Particularly strong THz laser radiation sources lasers, which has been used in chemistry for the first time by RUB, facilitates the observation of proteins in their natural environment during their fast dance with water molecules. The studies which have been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society were financed by the Human Frontier Science Programme. Martin Gruebele has stayed at the RUB Chemistry Department after being awarded the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel prize of the Alexander von Humboldt foundation.
Prof. Dr. Martina Havenith-Newen | alfa
Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals
21.02.2018 | University of Chicago
The “Holy Grail” of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally
21.02.2018 | Technische Universität München
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
21.02.2018 | Life Sciences
21.02.2018 | Life Sciences
21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences