Graphic shows molecular structure of predator protein variants (colors reveal different amino acids) Credit: Jason Miller, UCSD
A team led by UCSD biochemists has discovered the mechanism by which a simple organism can produce 10 trillion varieties of a single protein, a finding that provides a new tool to develop novel drugs.
In the September 18 advance on-line publication of the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, the researchers describe the mechanism by which a virus that infects bacteria—called a bacteriophage, or phage—can generate a kaleidoscope of variants of a particular protein. The paper will appear in print in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology in October.
Since this degree of protein diversity is extremely rare, recreating the process in a test tube could give researchers a new way to generate therapeutic enzymes, vaccines and other medically important proteins.
Sherry Seethaler | EurekAlert!
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