Characterize intermediates at atomic level
University of Toronto scientists are helping to answer one of the most important questions in biochemistry, one that has implications for treating neurodegenerative diseases: how do proteins fold into their three-dimensional structures?
In research published in the July 29 issue of Nature, U of T post-doctoral fellow Dmitry Korzhnev and his supervisor, Professor Lewis Kay of the Department of Biochemistry, become the first researchers to characterize at an atomic level of detail the intermediate -- or substructure -- that forms as a protein folds to its 3-D state.
"Understanding how proteins fold is one of the Holy Grails of biochemistry," says Kay. "The intermediates that we can study make up only one or two per cent of the population of protein molecules in solution. Its hard to study them because they are present at such low levels. This is the first time we have been able to characterize an intermediate state at this level of detail."
Lewis Kay | EurekAlert!
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