Changes of state and mind: A new phase for structural biology?

Knowing the shape of proteins is crucial for our understanding of human health and for developing new drugs. To do this current methods require proteins to be dissolved in a solution or locked in a crystal lattice. These approaches are incredibly powerful and are the mainstay of the field of structural biology as we know […]

The Chemistry Behind the 2012 Nobel Prize

The Official Website of the Nobel Prize (www.nobelprize.org) gives little insight into the far reaching importance of Brian Kobilka and Robert Lefkowitz’s work. It states only that the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2012 was: “for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors”. The two Americans’ innovative work has given us a better understanding of how dramatic […]

Gamers 1, M-PMV Retroviral Protease 0

In the crossover news of the week, gamers have discovered the structure of a protein-cutting enzyme that plays an important role in the spread of an AIDS-like virus in rhesus monkeys. Knowing the structure of this enzyme – the M-PMV retroviral protease – might make it possible to design drugs to beat the virus, but […]

Sting bomb detector

A novel instrument capable of detecting single molecules of explosives such as TNT has been built using carbon nanotubes and, strangely, bee venom proteins. The detector draws upon the discovery that carbon nanotubes emit a specific spectrum of infra-red light depending on the chemical environment. Carbon nanotubes, by themselves, are not able to detect TNT.  […]