research advances

Synopses of important developments in the field of structural biology and structural genomics, including advances from the Protein Structure Initiative. The featured articles and technical highlights are specially written for the Structural Biology Knowledgebase, while the research highlights are taken from NPG publications.

November 2009

  • featured articles

    • Network coverage

      A comprehensive atomic-resolution analysis of the centralmetabolic system of Thermotoga maritima sheds light on protein evolution.

    • ABA receptor...this time for real?

      After years of controversy, two groups have independently identified the same receptor family for the plant stress hormone abscisic acid.

  • research highlights

    • Chemical competition

      NMR is a useful technique for studying ligand binding to a protein but its use has been limited until now to measuring affinities of relatively weakly binding compounds. A new NMR approach can accurately rank potent lead compounds.

    • Bringing biochemical perspective

      Crystallographic studies of the group I intron have resulted in conflicting views of some of the molecular details of catalysis. Key interactions are now clarified and the important role for chemical biology probes in extending structural data is highlighted.

  • technical highlights

    • One system to express them all

      A fast and effective protein-expression system that works for any organism could revolutionize protein production.


    • Tackling the phase problem

      The first report of a protein structure obtained without molecular replacement or derivatives from a protein diffracting to 2.0 Å gives hope for direct methods for solving macromolecular structures.

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