Biology - Determining protein function
With genetic sequencing now routine, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are taking the next step toward understanding the molecular function of living things by identifying and characterizing protein interactions in cells. Using a combination of molecular biology, mass spectrometry and computational tools, researchers at ORNL's Center for Molecular and Cellular Systems can now decode the interactions of 16 target proteins per week, a rate that will double each year over the next four years. Understanding these interactions in bacteria and other microbial species, in which groups of proteins function as little molecular machines to perform a variety of functions, could lead to their application in tasks ranging from degrading or sequestering pollutants to producing fuels such as ethanol or hydrogen.
November 10, 2006