A New Way to Peer Inside Proteins to See How They Are Wired

The proteins in our bodies are sophisticated structures that perform specific jobs to keep us functioning and healthy. In many cases, these tiny machines are switched on or off through a two-step process where one part of the protein sends messages to another part called the “active site,” triggering the protein to start or stop its job. Sometimes this process — known as allostery — is disrupted, which leads to or contributes to the development of certain diseases.

Understanding how a protein is wired could help researchers develop ways to control its activity, and scientists at the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) at The Graduate Center, CUNY, believe they’ve come up with a reliable way to determine this, according to a newly published study in eLife.

“Just like it’s hard to guess how a light switch is wired to a light bulb in a room without seeing behind the walls, it’s hard to predict what remote area of a protein are wired to its active site without seeing the details inside the structure,” said Daniel Keedy, assistant professor with the ASRC’s Structural Biology Initiative and with The City College of New York’s chemistry and biochemistry departments.

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Submitted on: JUL 10, 2018

Category: Faculty Activities | Research Studies | Structural Biology