Nav: Home

Improved model of energy highway along protein strands

September 13, 2017

Ever heard of polarons? They are a kind of quasi-particle resulting from electrons self-trapping in a vibrating crystal lattice. Polarons can be harnessed to transport energy under certain conditions related to the relative vibrations of the electrons and the lattice itself. The theory explaining how polarons carry energy in crystals can be applied to long molecules called polypeptides--which can fold into proteins. In a new study published in EPJ B, Jingxi Luo and Bernard Piette from Durham University, UK, present a new mathematical model describing how polarons can be displaced in a directed way with minimum energy loss in linear peptide chains--which were used as a proxy for the study of proteins. The model therefore accounts for the energy transport mechanism explaining how energy generated inside a biological cell moves along transmembrane proteins towards the cell's exterior.

So how are polarons created? Regular crystal lattices display spontaneous vibrations. The presence of electrons produces localised distortions of these vibrations. When the electrons and the lattice experience a particular kind of electromagnetic interaction, or coupling, the energy potential for the electron is lowered, thus trapping it within the lattice. A similar coupling takes place between polarons and the peptide units in polypeptides.

Using simulations, the authors found that what determines the ability of polarons to transport energy is partly linked to the degree of symmetry of the electron interaction with the lattice. One prediction of their model is that a constant electric field, used in concert with random forces caused by heat in the cell environment, can initiate and sustain the motion of a polaron along a polypeptide chain. And this electric field matches the constant energy potential difference to be found across the membrane of a typical cell.
-end-
Reference: J. Luo and B. M. A. G. Piette (2017), A generalised Davydov-Scott model for polarons in linear peptide chains, European Physical Journal B, DOI 10.1140/epjb/e2017-80209-2

Springer

Related Proteins Articles:

Discovering, counting, cataloguing proteins
Scientists describe a well-defined mitochondrial proteome in baker's yeast.
Interrogating proteins
Scientists from the University of Bristol have designed a new protein structure, and are using it to understand how protein structures are stabilized.
Ancient proteins studied in detail
How did protein interactions arise and how have they developed?
What can we learn from dinosaur proteins?
Researchers recently confirmed it is possible to extract proteins from 80-million-year-old dinosaur bones.
Relocation of proteins with a new nanobody tool
Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have developed a new method by which proteins can be transported to a new location in a cell.
Proteins that can take the heat
Ancient proteins may offer clues on how to engineer proteins that can withstand the high temperatures required in industrial applications, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Designer proteins fold DNA
Florian Praetorius and Professor Hendrik Dietz of the Technical University of Munich have developed a new method that can be used to construct custom hybrid structures using DNA and proteins.
The proteins that domesticated our genomes
EPFL scientists have carried out a genomic and evolutionary study of a large and enigmatic family of human proteins, to demonstrate that it is responsible for harnessing the millions of transposable elements in the human genome.
Rare proteins collapse earlier
Some organisms are able to survive in hot springs, while others can only live at mild temperatures because their proteins aren't able to withstand such extreme heat.
How proteins reshape cell membranes
Small 'bubbles' frequently form on membranes of cells and are taken up into their interior.

Related Proteins Reading:

Proteins: Structure and Function
by David Whitford (Author)

Proteins: Concepts in Biochemistry
by Paulo Almeida (Author)

Proteins: Structures and Molecular Properties
by Thomas E. Creighton (Author)

Proteins (Explore the molecules of life)
by Tali Lavy (Author), Ofir Corcos (Illustrator)

Protein Sparing Modified Fast Cookbook
by Maria Emmerich (Author), Craig Emmerich (Author)

Protein Power: The High-Protein/Low Carbohydrate Way to Lose Weight, Feel Fit, and Boost Your Health-in Just Weeks!
by Michael R. Eades (Author), Mary Dan Eades (Author)

Plant-Protein Recipes That You'll Love: Enjoy the goodness and deliciousness of 150+ healthy plant-protein recipes!
by Carina Wolff (Author)

The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club: Easy High Protein Recipes with 300 Calories or Less to Help You Lose Weight and Boost Metabolism
by Lauren Harris-Pincus MS RDN (Author)

Proteins: Biochemistry and Biotechnology
by Gary Walsh (Author)

Clean Protein: The Revolution that Will Reshape Your Body, Boost Your Energy—and Save Our Planet
by Kathy Freston (Author), Bruce Friedrich (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Why We Hate
From bullying to hate crimes, cruelty is all around us. So what makes us hate? And is it learned or innate? This hour, TED speakers explore the causes and consequences of hate — and how we can fight it. Guests include reformed white nationalist Christian Picciolini, CNN commentator Sally Kohn, podcast host Dylan Marron, and writer Anand Giridharadas.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#483 Wild Moms
This week we're talking about what it takes to be a mother in the wild, and how how human moms compare to other moms in the animal kingdom. We're spending an hour with Dr. Carin Bondar, prolific science communicator and author. We'll be discussing a myriad of stories from her latest book, "Wild Moms: Motherhood in the Animal Kingdom", covering the exciting, stressful and even sinister sides of motherhood.