A Tiny Transistor Hooks Up To Individual Proteins In Human Tears

Thursday, January 19, 2012 - 17:30 in Biology & Nature

Lysozyme Folding P.G. Collins/UC IrvineListening to lysozomes with one of the smallest transistors ever made Wiretapping an enzyme and listening as it unfolds could shed new light on the way proteins work, allowing researchers to monitor structural changes over a longer period of time than was previously possible. To do it, scientists tethered a nanoscale transistor to a molecule found in human tears. Understanding how proteins fold is a key challenge in biology - making synthetic versions is about much more than their molecular contents. Enzymes change their shapes when they bind their molecular targets, and the way in which this happens has some bearing on the way the proteins work. Researchers have even turned to online games to look for novel folds and structures that could be used in drug discovery and other uses. Biochemists can glimpse these structural changes, but not over long enough time scales to really get...

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