Iowa State University researcher shows proteins have controlled motions

August 27, 2008

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University researcher Robert Jernigan believes that his research shows proteins have controlled motions.

Most biochemists traditionally believe proteins have many random, uncontrolled movements.

Research conducted by Jernigan, director of the L.H. Baker Center for Bioinformatics and Biological Statistics together with Guang Song, an assistant professor in computer science and graduate student Lei Yang, over a 10-year period shows that not only are protein motions more restricted, but also that these restricted, controlled motions are part of the function of the proteins.

The group's findings were recently published in the journal "Structure."

Using as an example a protein from HIV virus, Jernigan conducted his research using a simple model and tested to see how the proteins moved. The large number of reported structures show exactly the motions that are required for their function, and exactly the same motions as computed by Jernigan's model.

"This is one experimental case that is indicative, but there are many others," he said.

Jernigan believes this research is the first step to better understanding proteins and cell behaviors.

"There is the possibility of creating designer drugs with this newly discovered information," he said.

"These are models that conform to the point of view that the structures have been designed to exert very strong control of their motions," he said. "Those motions correspond closely to the motions needed for their function."

For instance, HIV virus protein structures that Jernigan studied did not move randomly, but actually opened and closed to allow access to other structures.

There is a binding site that must open to permit access to the protein and then close again to allow the protein to function, he said.

Because the protein structure opens and closes as part of it function, Jernigan believes that the motion is controlled and part of the function of the protein.

Jernigan's studies used the HIV virus, but he believes that the results are relevant to many other protein structures.
-end-


Iowa State University

Related Proteins Articles from Brightsurf:

New understanding of how proteins operate
A ground-breaking discovery by Centenary Institute scientists has provided new understanding as to the nature of proteins and how they exist and operate in the human body.

Finding a handle to bag the right proteins
A method that lights up tags attached to selected proteins can help to purify the proteins from a mixed protein pool.

Designing vaccines from artificial proteins
EPFL scientists have developed a new computational approach to create artificial proteins, which showed promising results in vivo as functional vaccines.

New method to monitor Alzheimer's proteins
IBS-CINAP research team has reported a new method to identify the aggregation state of amyloid beta (Aβ) proteins in solution.

Composing new proteins with artificial intelligence
Scientists have long studied how to improve proteins or design new ones.

Hero proteins are here to save other proteins
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have discovered a new group of proteins, remarkable for their unusual shape and abilities to protect against protein clumps associated with neurodegenerative diseases in lab experiments.

Designer proteins
David Baker, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Washington to speak at the AAAS 2020 session, 'Synthetic Biology: Digital Design of Living Systems.' Prof.

Gone fishin' -- for proteins
Casting lines into human cells to snag proteins, a team of Montreal researchers has solved a 20-year-old mystery of cell biology.

Coupled proteins
Researchers from Heidelberg University and Sendai University in Japan used new biotechnological methods to study how human cells react to and further process external signals.

Understanding the power of honey through its proteins
Honey is a culinary staple that can be found in kitchens around the world.

Read More: Proteins News and Proteins Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.