U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Argonne National Laboratory's Structural Biology Center Contributes Major New Structure of Membrane Protein
Published: September 19, 2001
Posted: October 18, 2001

A multi-institutional international team has used the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) to solve for the first time the structure of an integrin. Integrins are proteins found in cell membranes that control many cellular processes and serve as a channel through which viruses can enter and infect cells. These proteins have proven extremely difficult to isolate and crystallize in order to carry out determination of their three-dimensional structures. The results are reported in Science online on September 7, 2001, and will shortly appear in the print version of this journal. The integrin studied by the group is thought to have a significant function in tumor growth and may be involved in enabling infection by the viruses responsible for AIDS and foot-and-mouth disease. The structure of the protein is complicated, with twelve domains arranged in the shape of a propeller. Thanks to the new structural information, new drugs that bind the protein can be designed that may block uptake of viruses into cells or delay growth of tumors by preventing cells from building new blood vessels to support the tumors. The team included scientists at Merck in Germany, who isolated and purified samples of the protein, at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, who crystallized the protein and refined the structure, and at the BER-funded Structural Biology Center at ANL, who carried out the crystallographic experiments at their beamline at the APS.

Contact: Roland Hirsch, SC-73, 3-9009
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Structural Biology, Biomolecular Characterization and Imaging
  • Research Area: Structural Biology Infrastructure

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER
      (formerly SC-73 Medical Sciences Division, OBER)


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

May 10, 2019
Quantifying Decision Uncertainty in Water Management via a Coupled Agent-Based Model
Considering risk perception can improve the representation of human decision-making processes in age [more...]

May 09, 2019
Projecting Global Urban Area Growth Through 2100 Based on Historical Time Series Data and Future Scenarios
Study provides country-specific urban area growth models and the first dataset on country-level urba [more...]

May 05, 2019
Calibrating Building Energy Demand Models to Refine Long-Term Energy Planning
A new, flexible calibration approach improved model accuracy in capturing year-to-year changes in bu [more...]

May 03, 2019
Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis of Demeter for Better Downscaling of Global Land Use and Land Cover Projections
Researchers improved the Demeter model’s performance by calibrating key parameters and establi [more...]

Apr 22, 2019
Representation of U.S. Warm Temperature Extremes in Global Climate Model Ensembles
Representation of warm temperature events varies considerably among global climate models, which has [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)