Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Secret Revealed

08.07.2010
The crystal structure of ribose—finally!

D-Ribose is just a small molecule – but an extremely important one for us life forms. It is astounding that the crystal structure of ribose is not included among the over 500,000 structures that have been solved. After all, ribose is a fundamental building block of ribosomes, the “protein factories” of cells. A Nobel Prize was awarded in 2009 for studies of the structure and function of ribosomes.

In the journal Angewandte Chemie, the winners of this prize have just presented a first-hand report of their research. Also in Angewandte Chemie, a team of German and Swiss-based researchers has now presented another long-sought result: they have finally been able to solve the crystal structure of ribose.

Ribose belongs in the chemical class of sugars. Its backbone is a chain of five carbon atoms; four of them carry an OH group, the fifth an oxygen atom attached by a double bond. In most modern textbooks and handbooks, ribose is represented as a â-furanose: four of the carbon atoms and the oxygen atom form a five-membered ring. However, it has been known for over 40 years that in solution, ribose exists as a mixure of four different structures: á- and â-furanoses as well as á- and the dominant â-pyranose. Pyranoses are a form of sugar in which the five carbon atoms and an oxygen atom form a six-membered ring. The prefix á or â indicates whether a specific OH group lies above or below the plane of the ring.

But what form does crystalline ribose adopt? Whereas the structures of other important sugars have been known for a long time, ribose has been reluctant to reveal its secret; the compound is extremely difficult to crystallize. Despite such adverse conditions and countless failed attempts, the team led by Lynne B. McCusker, Beat H Meier, Roland Boese, and Jack D. Dunitz at the ETH Zurich (Switzerland) and the University of Duisburg-Essen have finally succeeded in cracking the structure. By using complex computer calculations, they were first able to obtain meaningful results from X-ray diffraction analyses of powder samples. They were then also able to produce single crystals by zone-melting recrystallization. In this technique, only a small zone of the material is heated and this melt zone is moved. The cooling melt then solidifies with a uniform crystal structure to form the desired single crystal. This can then be examined in by X-ray crystal-structure analysis. Solid-state NMR spectroscopic studies yielded further, complementary information about ribose.

Overall, the researchers came to the realization that D-ribose molecules crystallize as pyranoses, which are six-membered rings. These are present in two crystalline forms that contain â- and á-pyranose in various proportions.

Author: Jack D. Dunitz, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich (Switzerland), http://www.loc.ethz.ch/people/emerit/dunitz

Title: The Crystal Structure of D-Ribose—At Last!

Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2000, 39, No. 26, 4503–4505, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201001266

Jack D. Dunitz | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://pressroom.angewandte.org
http://www.loc.ethz.ch/people/emerit/dunitz
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201001266

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View
22.06.2018 | University of Sussex

nachricht New cellular pathway helps explain how inflammation leads to artery disease
22.06.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>