A unique breakthrough by researchers at Linköping University in Sweden creates new potential in medicine and biochemistry and at the same time provides a new piece of the puzzle in theories about the origins of life.
Normally, inorganic materials like silica are unwelcome in biological systems, since they disrupt the form and function of proteins.
“We wanted to reverse the thinking and try to design proteins that take on their function only after encountering an inorganic surface,” says Bengt-Harald Jonsson, professor of molecular biotechnology.
He directs the research team that is now presenting its findings in Angewandte Chemie.
The team designed a peptide (a short protein) with a specific distribution of positive charges. The peptide was mixed into a solution of spherical silica particles, about 9 nanometers (billionths of a meter) across. When the peptide was free in the solution it had no structure whatsoever, but when it connected with the negatively charged silica ball it assumed the form of a helix. The result was a complex of a silica particle and a functional protein.
When the researchers added amino acids to their peptide, the complex took on the properties of a catalyst, a function similar to that of enzymes in living cells.
The method has several possible fields of application:- recognition of organic molecules
“We know that RNA (which plays a decisive role in the transfer of information in cells) can bind with clay particles whose surfaces have negative charges. The probability of peptides with amino acids having formed well-defined structures with the clay at an early stage of development is considerably greater, since they are more diversified than RNA is,” says Bengt-Harald Jonsson.
Åke Hjelm | alfa
Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
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...
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...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine