Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

University of Oregon scientists reveal how coral reefs got the blues

29.08.2005


Discovery may lead to promising new research tools



University of Oregon scientists report their discovery of the basis for the blue coloration found in many coral reef formations in an article published this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Jim Remington and Nathan Henderson of the university’s Institute of Molecular Biology describe the crystal structure of a cyan (greenish-blue) fluorescent protein from a sea anemone in the report, which completes the Remington laboratory’s systematic study of the five classes of reef chromoproteins.


"Molecular and cellular biologists are familiar with the popular green fluorescent protein, first isolated from a jellyfish, which is used by researchers to label internal structures in living cells," said Remington, a physics professor.

"However, it is less well known that the dramatic coloration of coral reef formations is largely due to four closely related classes of proteins: cyan, green, yellow and red fluorescent proteins. In addition, a fifth class of protein is not fluorescent, but conveys a deep purple coloration to the tentacles of sea anemones and similar animals."

Although the biological function of coral reef coloration is poorly understood, Remington said there is growing concern that "bleaching" of coral reefs may be an early indicator of serious ecological damage due to environmental stresses, possibly resulting from human activities.

Ongoing research may help solve this problem while providing an unrelated bonus.

The National Science Foundation funded Remington’s work. Henderson, a doctoral student, is supported by an Institute of Molecular Biology fellowship funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Remington’s group includes physicists, chemists and biologists who use an interdisciplinary approach in applying physical techniques to the study of biological molecules, especially the structure, function, and interaction of enzymes and fluorescent proteins.

"Understanding how these organisms tune their coloration to meet specific biological requirements will lead to new tools for molecular and cell biology research," Remington said.

Remington’s latest research on the cyan protein (known scientifically as amFP486) is part of a large project underway since 1995. "There is huge interest in fluorescent proteins. They are used by essentially every molecular biology lab in the world to light up and label the interior structures of living cells," he explained. Remington’s lab achieved the world’s first structure of a fluorescent protein (Green Fluorescent Protein), a discovery published in 1996 by the journal Science.

Melody Ward Leslie | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.oregon.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fine organic particles in the atmosphere are more often solid glass beads than liquid oil droplets
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

nachricht Study overturns seminal research about the developing nervous system
21.04.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>