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Putting Protein Structure Determination on the Fast Track

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Using DOE's supercomputing resources and automated small-angle X-ray scattering instrumentation at an experiment station linked to Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source, researchers in one month resolved the three-dimensional structures of 40 proteins from Pyrococcus furiosis-a hydrogen-producing microbe thriving in boiling temperatures. Pictured here is one of the protein structures. This work would have taken several years with traditional X-ray crystallography techniques. By analyzing the molecular structures of this heat-tolerant microbe, scientists are working to understand which protein characteristics enable an organism to withstand the very hot and acidic conditions associated with biofuel production and other industrial processes.

Credit or Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Citation(s):

US DOE. May 2010. Biological Systems Science Division: A Division of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research, US Department of Energy Office of Science. (p. 4b) (website)

Prepared by the Biological and Environmental Research Information System, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, genomicscience.energy.gov/ and genomics.energy.gov/