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.
Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences
Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.03.2018 | Life Sciences