A supplement providing a snapshot of the latest developments in chemical biology
Probes for protein structure
28 June 2006
Swedish scientists have demonstrated that a natural amino acid can be used to probe protein conformations.
The amount of energy transfer from a donor to an acceptor group depends on the distance between them. By measuring the energy transfer between the Trp and BODIPY groups Johansson was able to calculate how far apart the donor-acceptor pairs were.
A change in the distances between the donor-acceptor pairs indicated a change in the conformation of the protein; Trp-BODIPY pairs can be used to explore processes related to protein folding, explained Johansson. 'The approach might be applicable to the study of protein aggregation as, for example, in amyloid diseases such as Alzheimer's,' he said.
Johansson's team found that the structural information they obtained was in good agreement with x-ray data and molecular dynamics simulations for the same protein, demonstrating the accuracy of their method.
ReferencesM Olofsson, S Kalinin, J Zdunek, M Oliveberg and LB-┼ Johansson, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2006