Like the strings on a violin or the pipes of an organ, the proteins in the human body vibrate in different patterns, scientists have long suspected. Now, a new study provides what researchers say is the first conclusive evidence that this is true.
The team found that the vibrations, which were previously thought to dissipate quickly, actually persist in molecules like the "ringing of a bell," said UB physics professor Andrea Markelz, PhD, who led the study.
These tiny motions enable proteins to change shape quickly so they can readily bind to other proteins, a process that is necessary for the body to perform critical biological functions like absorbing oxygen, repairing cells and replicating DNA, Markelz said.
The team's technique for studying vibrations could be used in the future to document how natural and artificial inhibitors stop proteins from performing vital functions by blocking desired vibrations.
"We can now try to understand the actual structural mechanisms behind these biological processes and how they are controlled."
Via Sepp Hasslberger