UCLA scientists have created a mechanism at the nanoscale to externally control the function and action of a protein.
"We can switch a protein on and off, and while we have controlled a specific protein, we believe our approach will work with virtually any protein," said Giovanni Zocchi, assistant professor of physics at UCLA, member of the California NanoSystems Institute and leader of the research effort. "This research has the potential to start a new approach to protein engineering."
The research, published in the journal Physical Review Letters, potentially could lead to a new generation of targeted "smart" pharmaceutical drugs that are active only in cells where a certain gene is expressed, or a certain DNA sequence is present, Zocchi said. Such drugs would have reduced side effects. The research, federally funded by the National Science Foundation, also may lead to a deeper understanding of proteins molecular architecture.
Harlan Lebo | EurekAlert!
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