Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Twisted Molecule

27.10.2006
Large and folded like a protein—but completely synthetic

The physiological functions of proteins depend on their folding into a particular spatial structure (tertiary structure): enzymes and their substrates must fit together like the proverbial lock and key. It has recently been discovered that not only large biomolecules are capable of stable, defined folding; synthetic molecules can do it too. Called foldamers, these molecules can even imitate the biological functions of the proteins they are modeled after. However, until recently their size and complexity was strictly limited. French researchers have now produced an intricately folded molecule exclusively from manmade components. The dimensions of this foldamer correspond to those of the tertiary structures of smaller proteins.

The team led by Ivan Huc did not want to base the design of their foldamer on the structure of proteins, because the synthesis of large chains from small individual building blocks is difficult. The alternative was to use branched structures. They did adopt one important structural element from proteins: the helix. The researchers hooked eight quinoline units (nitrogen-containing aromatic six-membered rings with a shared edge) together into a chain. This type of octamer twists itself into a helix. The researchers then bridged two such octamers together with a special branching link. This linker inserts so well into the two octamers that a continuous, stable helix is formed. The branching linker can then be used to hook two such helical structures together side by side. Once linked, the two helices do not lie in parallel, but rather at right angles to each other.

Helices can be twisted to the left or the right. In peptides, the direction of the helix is uniquely defined by the spatial structure of the individual building blocks. In the synthesis of the quadruple-octamers, however, an equal number of right- and left-handed helices are formed. The preferences demonstrated by the helices on pairing are determined by the solvent: In aromatic solvents, pairing of two helices with the same direction of twist is clearly preferred (70 %), while in chlorinated hydrocarbons up to 93 % of the pairs are formed from helices with opposite directions of twist. When the solvent is changed, the helices change their directionality to match these preferences. “This proves both helices are involved in strong interactions with each other, just like a folded protein,” says Huc. “Our abiotic foldamer is the first of its kind and shows that it is possible to synthesize folded molecules that imitate the size and structural complexity of the tertiary structure of proteins, while consisting entirely of manmade building blocks.” The goal is to produce artificial structures with defined binding sites and uniquely positioned catalytic groups for controlled reactions with specific substrates.

... more about:
»Helices »Helix »Molecule »direction »foldamer

Author: Ivan Huc, Institut Européen de Chimie et Biologie, Pessac (France), http://www.iecb.u-bordeaux.fr/index.php?id=66

Title: Proteomorphous Objects from Abiotic Backbones

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, doi: 10.1002/anie.200603390

| Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://pressroom.angewandte.org
http://www.iecb.u-bordeaux.fr/index.php?id=66

Further reports about: Helices Helix Molecule direction foldamer

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>