Mar 6, 2012Science and Technology
More effective method of imaging proteins

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg have found a more effective way of imaging proteins. They have developed a new method of creating incredibly small protein crystals and shown that it's possible to use them to determine a membrane protein structure. Mapping the structure of proteins and the work they do in cells could be the key to cures for everything from cancer to malaria. The study investigated a membrane protein from a type of bacterium that lives off sunlight. It is important to investigate membrane proteins as they transport substances through the cell membrane and thus take care of communication with the cell's surroundings and other cells. A key discovery was that far fewer images are needed to map the protein than previously believed. Using a free-electron laser it is possible to produce around 60 images a second, which meant that the team had over 365,000 images at its disposal. However, just 265 images are needed to create a 3-D model of the protein.

Relevant Locations: Sweden
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