Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Team Develops New Method for Producing Proteins Critical to Medical Research

01.04.2010
Scientists at the University of Delaware have developed a new method for producing proteins critical to research on cancer, Alzheimer's, and other diseases.

Developed by Zhihao Zhuang, UD assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and his research group, the chemical method yields hundredsfold more ubiquitylated proteins than current approaches. Such proteins may hold the key to revealing such mysteries as how cancer cells gain resistance to cancer drugs.

The advance is reported in the April issue of Nature Chemical Biology, the leading journal in the field of chemical biology. Zhuang's co-authors include graduate students Junjun Chen and Jialiang Wang and postdoctoral fellow Yongxing Ai, all from UD, and Lajos Haracska, a researcher in the Institute of Genetics at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Ubiquitin is a small protein, the basis of Nobel Prize-winning research in 2004, which deemed the molecule the “kiss of death” for its role in tagging damaged or unneeded proteins for the cell's waste disposal in the constant process of protein generation and degradation. In recent years, the non-proteolytic functions of ubiquitin in diverse cellular processes, including protein trafficking, immune response, and DNA damage tolerance, have been discovered at a rapid pace, and it has become clear that ubiquitin plays far-broader roles in cell biology.

However, preparing sufficient samples of ubiquitylated proteins for study has been a major challenge facing scientists.

The availability of these proteins is critical for Zhuang and members of his research team, who are working at the interface of chemistry and biology trying to understand the molecular basis of human cancer development and prevention.

The new method for developing ubiquitylated proteins, which Zhuang and his team developed, combines the power of intein chemistry and disulfide crosslinking to bond ubiquitin to another essential protein called proliferating cell nuclear antigen.

“Our yield is hundredsfold higher compared to the commonly used enzymatic approach,” Zhuang says. “We also have the flexibility of modifying the selected residues, which has not been possible with the previous approach.”

In investigating the effect of the differently modified proteins, Zhuang and his group also revealed a surprising phenomenon regarding ubiquitylation.

“We found that ubiquitin as a protein modifier is far more flexible than we have thought. This property distinguishes ubiquitylation from other better studied protein post-translational modifications, such as phosphorylation and acetylation,” Zhuang says.

The new UD approach will help researchers studying ubiquitin biology by providing the means to prepare milligrams of protein samples for in-depth structural and functional characterization.

SInce the publication of the work online in Nature Chemical Biology, Zhuang has received requests for samples from research groups across the United States.

Additionally, the new approach has already opened up doors to new research in Zhuang's own laboratory, where he and his team are investigating new anti-cancer therapies.

The research on the new method was supported by Zhuang's laboratory start-up funding from UD, as well as a recent grant from the University of Delaware Research Foundation (UDRF).

Tracey Bryant | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.udel.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>