Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Crystallography
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Molecular Movies to Reveal the Dynamic Lives of Proteins

Published: Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Bookmark and Share
Capturing moving images of tiny protein molecules is the aim of a new research project announced at Imperial College London.

Capturing moving images of tiny protein molecules is the aim of a new research project announced at Imperial College London. The research will reveal, on extremely short timescales, the miniscule movements of proteins which help carry out important biological processes in people, animals, insects and plants.

The one million euro study, funded by the European Research Council, will focus on one particular group of proteins called light receptor proteins. Researchers will examine what happens when these proteins are hit with a pulse of bright laser light, and will record moving images of the results.

Light receptor, or 'photoreceptor', proteins trigger important biological responses to light. The human photoreceptor proteins which the researchers will study are involved in maintaining the body's internal 24 hour clock which governs sleep cycles in relation to day and night, and have significant biomedical importance.

The researchers will also study plant light receptor proteins which help plants bend towards the sun, and are involved in photosynthesis - the process by which sunlight is converted into energy.

The new funding will allow scientists to bring together two different types of imaging technology to look at both vibrations and motions on extremely short timescales, for the first time in the UK. This will enable the scientists to record how the molecular structures of these types of proteins change when they are 'at work'.

Recipient of the new grant, Dr Jasper van Thor from Imperial College London's Department of Life Sciences, explains why capturing dynamic 'movies' of these proteins is important:

"Although much is known about the structure of these types of proteins when they're in a static state, few experiments have been carried out to understand exactly what happens on a molecular level when they're 'activated' by light and start moving around doing their jobs.

"We hope that getting a dynamic, moving picture of how these proteins work will give us a greater understanding than ever before of how these important biological processes happen."      

Dr van Thor's grant will be used to fit out a new laser laboratory at Imperial for 'pump-probe' experiments. In these experiments, the light receptor protein molecules will be stimulated, or 'pumped', into activity by a laser, and then their movements and structural changes recorded by a very fast spectroscopic 'probe' for analysis.

This probe will give the scientists a moving image which will reveal more about the structure of the proteins than a stationary snapshot would.

The second type of technology that Dr van Thor and his colleagues will use to capture images of the proteins in action is extremely powerful x-rays produced in synchrotron facilities.

In these experiments, the scientists will again use a laser pump to activate the proteins, but here they will use a very fast pulsed x-ray probe to record to the moving images. The combination of these two techniques will give Dr van Thor a comprehensive set of moving images of the light receptor proteins at work.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,200+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,600+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Crucial Reaction for Vision Revealed
Scientists have tracked the reaction of a protein responding to light, paving the way for a new understanding of life's essential reactions.
Monday, May 16, 2016
UK Team Reveals All Three Structures of a Single Transporter Protein
A team of researchers has captured the 3D atomic models of a single transporter protein in each of its three main structural states.
Friday, April 30, 2010
A new Chair in Biophysics Created at Imperial College London
Chair in Biophysics has been created in memory of Professor David Blow, the 'founding father of biophysics'.
Friday, February 03, 2006
Research Showing How Drugs Stick to a Key Protein
This information should help scientists to modify the structures of drugs to improve their effectiveness.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Scientific News
Molecular Map Provides Clues To Zinc-Related Diseases
Mapping the molecular structure where medicine goes to work is a crucial step toward drug discovery against deadly diseases.
What Makes a Good Scientist?
It’s the journey, not just the destination that counts as a scientist when conducting research.
CaSR Role in Maintaining Calcium Concentration Uncovered
Georgia State-led study paves way for new therapies in fight against calcium disorders.
3-D Atomic Structure of Cholesterol Transporter
Researchers at UTSW have determined the 3-D atomic structure of a human sterol transporter that helps maintain cholesterol balance.
Neutron Analysis of HIV-1 Protease
Neutrons probe structure of enzyme critical to development of next-generation HIV drugs.
Do Germs Cause Type 1 Diabetes?
Germs could play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes by triggering the body’s immune system to destroy the cells that produce insulin, new research suggests.
Crucial Reaction for Vision Revealed
Scientists have tracked the reaction of a protein responding to light, paving the way for a new understanding of life's essential reactions.
Secrets of a Deadly Virus Family Revealed
Scripps Research scientists uncover the glycoprotein structure of LCMV. The findings could guide development of treatments for Lassa fever.
Serotonin Transporter Structure Revealed
Researchers determined the 3-D structure of the serotonin transporter and visualized how two common antidepressants interact with the protein.
Zika Virus Structure Revealed
Team at Purdue becomes the first to determine the structure of the Zika virus, which reveals insights critical to the development of effective antiviral treatments and vaccines.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,200+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,600+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!