Duke University theoretical chemists who spend much of their time calculating how the exotic rules of quantum mechanics govern electrons motion between and through biological molecules have garnered surprising results when they add water to their models.
They have discovered that a scant handful of water molecules positioned in the nearly infinitesimal gap between two "docking" proteins creates unexpectedly favorable conditions for electrons to "tunnel" from one protein to another. The researchers, chemistry professor David Beratan and postdoctoral researchers Jianping Lin and Ilya Balabin, revealed their findings in a paper to be published in the Nov. 25, 2005, issue of the journal Science.
Their work, supported by the National Institutes of Health, delves into puzzling guidelines of physics that Beratan said nature has to follow in order to harness energy and avoid disease.
Monte Basgall | EurekAlert!
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