However, scientists from these institutes based in Grenoble (France) have managed to produce a movie. The actors are not celebrities but a protein whose role is to eliminate toxic molecules. They filmed this protein in action by freezing it at several states. They publish their results this week in Science.
Most of the research done on proteins is based on their study in a resting state and their study in movement is extremely limited due to technological limitations. Today, a French team has made a movie of an enzyme (a protein that catalyses chemical reactions) found in bacteria. “The achievement of this research is two-fold: on one side there is the technological success of filming an enzyme in action and on the other hand there are the results that contribute to the knowledge of how this enzyme works”, explains Dominique Bourgeois, corresponding author for the paper.
The enzyme filmed in action is called “superoxide reductase”, its role is to eliminate a toxic molecule called “superoxide radical”. In order to survive, all living organisms have to fight oxidative stress, produced by outflows of the oxygen metabolism. In humans, about 2% of the oxygen used to breathe is transformed into this toxic “superoxide radical” molecule, instead of water. This production is increased in people affected by neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer. A high amount of these molecules worsen these illnesses, so scientists are looking for drugs to eliminate them.
The enzyme studied by the team acts uniquely in bacteria and its counterpart in humans is more complex. Synthesizing an enzyme like the one studied through biomimetics is an exciting possibility for developing future drugs.
In order to produce the film, the team used the ESRF-IBS “Cryobench” laboratory to freeze the protein in three different states while the reaction took place. In order to make sure that they “trapped” the right intermediate states, the researchers used the technique of Raman spectroscopy. This technique provided them with strong evidence that the states were the appropriate ones by showing them the chemical bonds in each stage of the reaction. Once they had identified the right states, they studied the sample with synchrotron x-rays. “We expect this new methodology to be of use for many researchers in the field”, Bourgeois explains.
Filming certain proteins whilst reactions occur has been possible at the ESRF for some years. However, experiments until today were restricted to proteins that get excited by light and are in very resistant crystals.
Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria
23.05.2017 | Rice University
Discovery of an alga's 'dictionary of genes' could lead to advances in biofuels, medicine
23.05.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
17.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.05.2017 | Life Sciences
23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering