Device made of fused protein partners is shown to be reversible and highly sensitive
Improving significantly on an early prototype, Johns Hopkins University researchers have found a new way to join two unrelated proteins to create a molecular switch, a nanoscale "device" in which one biochemical partner controls the activity of the other. Lab experiments have demonstrated that the new switch performs 10 times more effectively than the early model and that its "on-off" effect is repeatable.
The new technique to produce the molecular switch and related experimental results are reported in the November issue of the journal Chemistry & Biology. The paper builds on earlier research, led by Marc Ostermeier, which demonstrated that it was possible to create a fused protein in which one component sends instructions to the other. The second then carries out the task. "Last year, we reported that wed used protein engineering techniques to make a molecular switch, putting together two proteins that normally had nothing to do with one another, but the switching properties of that version were insufficient for many applications," said Ostermeier, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Johns Hopkins. "With the new technique, weve produced a molecular switch thats over 10 times more effective. When we introduce this switch into bacteria, it transforms them into a working sensor."
Phil Sneiderman | EurekAlert!
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