In DepthStructural Biology

Mutant power resolves protein shapes

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Science  21 Jun 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6446, pp. 1123
DOI: 10.1126/science.364.6446.1123

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Summary

In biology, structure determines function. That's why mapping the atomic structure of proteins has become crucial to understanding how they behave. But molecular cartography is painstaking work that typically requires dedicated, expensive facilities with supercooled, powerful magnets or stadium-size synchrotrons. Now, two research teams independently report this week that they've hit on a way to use genetic and biochemical techniques to do the job, potentially opening structural biology to genetics and genomics labs. And unlike traditional methods, which visualize proteins in crystals or solution, the approach can also reveal proteins' natural shape inside cells as they do their work, which could reveal protein mutations' roles in diseases.

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