The researchers at the Georgetown University Medical Center are working on an experiment to study the unknown tiny ‘blob-like’ proteins that move around the cells and disappear within it.
According to the researchers, the purpose of these tiny cloud-like structures is still unknown but they strongly offer new promises in treating any disease.
The researchers at the Georgetown University dubbed these cloudy structures as ‘assemblages’.
Briefing about the idea behind research, Jeffrey Toretsky, professor at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Department of Oncology and Pediatrics, said, “I want to know what these assemblages are doing in Ewing sarcoma, the disease I concentrate on – and I would think all other researchers who study human biology would want to know their functions in both health and disease.”
In order to have an in-depth review of the ‘assemblages’, the scientists pooled all the theories and previous extensive research works on protein biochemistry and biophysics.
According to the researchers, the assemblages are intrinsically disordered structures that are usually (not always) built up of proteins.
Being intrinsically disordered these structures do not take on a specific shape so as to fit themselves ‘like a lock’ into other proteins.
These proteins undergo a process called ‘phase separation’ to form themselves into gel-like assemblages. This allows them to trap and interact with RNA and other protein forms.
Toretsky said that these proteins without fixed structures were known to the scientists in the last five years only. Scientists believe that their transitional properties can offer crucial leads about cell health and hence could play a role in disease treatment.
“Current drug-discovery dogma suggests that it is very hard to make a small molecule to prevent two structured proteins from interacting. However, small molecules have a greater likelihood of disrupting intrinsically disordered protein-protein interactions,” Toretsky said.
The findings of study were published in the latest edition of the Journal of Cell Biology.
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