Archive for June, 2008

Protein misfold

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

We knew that from very basics of biology transcription turns DNA into RNA and then translation turns RNA into amino acids sequence. Then we have proteins. Sounds very straightforward, however, folding an string of amino acids into a unique 3-D structure is actually rather complicated. At present, protein folding has been attracting almost all attention across scientific communities, nonetheless it is far from being accomplished in silicon. The protein side-effect/byproduct is arguably more important from therapeutic point of view. Lots of fatal diseases are caused of misfolded proteins, for example, prion disease, amyloidoses, … The common pathological feature of all these human diseases is the extracellular depostion of the aggregated misfolded protein. We ought to be interested in not only the right answers (folded state) but also the wrong ones (misfolded states) in the study of protein folding.

There are a bunch of papers already out there studying this topic, however, I found them as inconclusive as the tons of papers on protein folding. Anyway, a good start is from the special issue from Nature.

What can we learn more from misfold? How to characterize protein misfold? Any evolutionary advantage/disadvantage?

Measuring conformational changes at binding sites for AChR [3]

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

The membrane proteins is my favorite topic. I was impressed by Inna Yanez-Orozco‘s poster on the subject. She explained to me how she designed and conducted the experiment and also the results.

I’m on facebook

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

I have heard a lot about facebook and myspace. But I was reluctant to join because I somehow insisted those are for “young” people until last Friday. So now officially I am on facebook, not sure I want to go to myspace though.

Structural biology symposium at Galveston [2]: Biophysical origins of molecular evolution

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Yousif Shamoo presented a very impressive talk on the underlying biological principles of adaptation within bacterial populations during protein evolution. I found it very interesting. He showed a figure how the fitness, mutation, and temperature are correlated. In his view, evolution is a step forward process, the adaptation of a gene to environment is an accumulation of mutation based on fitness. It is a remarkable demonstration on atomic level and worth reading more.