Researchers find way to study proteins moving (relatively) slowly

phys.org | 8/22/2019 | Staff
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Proteins are the workhorses of our bodies. They keep our organs functioning. They regulate our cells. They are the targets for medications that treat a number of diseases, including cancers and neurological diseases. Proteins need to move in order to function, but scientists still know very little about such motions at speeds slower than a nanosecond.

The reason for that gap in knowledge might seem like a strange problem: Proteins sometimes move too slowly for some key technology scientists use to watch them—so slowly that the technology cannot pick up their movements. These proteins are still moving very fast—nanoseconds to microseconds. But before a new study, researchers could view only proteins moving faster than a nanosecond.

Research - Month - Journal - Science - Advances

The research, published last month in the journal Science Advances by a team of biophysical chemists at The Ohio State University, changed that. The researchers found a way to measure the ways proteins move at slower speeds—hundreds of nanoseconds to microseconds. The discovery, a fundamental breakthrough, could open a new line of research for scientists trying to understand how proteins behave in the body.

"We know very little about what proteins do on timescales into the microseconds. Traditional experiments provide very little information, because the way we test proteins now loses sensitivity at those speeds—there is a window, depending on how fast a protein is moving, at which we cannot see what the protein is doing and how it is behaving," said Rafael Brüschweiler, Ohio Research Scholar and professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Ohio State. "Our goal here was to open up this window. To come up with a tool to measure how proteins function on these timescales that we have not been able to watch before."

Brüschweiler - Ways - Study - Proteins - Decades

Brüschweiler has been working on ways to better study proteins for decades, starting when he was a graduate student in...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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