In a recent research study, scientists have successfully discovered a mechanism involved in protein folding. Although protein synthesis was understood a long time ago, the mechanism involved in the folding of protein was not understood fully.
In a study published in the “Nature Chemical Biology”, scientists mentioned that if the whole process of the protein synthesis goes on as planned, the amino acids get aligned in an orderly manner and the folding occurs within a fraction of a second.
Any anomaly during the protein folding results in the clumping of the proteins together, and can result in many serious diseases such as cystic fibrosis and Parkinson’s disease. Due to this, a proper understanding of the folding mechanism can result in an early detection and treatment of such diseases at a very early stage.
The researchers focused their study on the membrane proteins that perform various vital functions such as transport across the membrane, maintenance of the resting membrane potential, cellular excretion, etc. The researchers used a novel technique called “steric trapping” to study the mechanism of folding. This technique involves attachment of two molecular tags to the folded protein then, few bulky objects capable of attaching with the tags are added. These bulky objects bring back the protein back to the unfolded state which can then be studied to determine the role of amino acids in folding the protein.