New method for the transmission of electrons between proteins

A new way to transfer energy between cells.


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Scientists at the Catalonian Institute of Bioengineering (Instituto de Bioingeniería de Cataluña) and the Seville Chemical Research Institute (Instituto de Investigaciones Químicas de Sevilla) have developed a new method to transfer electrons between proteins that refutes the evidence from experiments until now.

Scientists noted that the process will help them get detail insights into the behavior of proteins in the cells. Moreover, it is also expected to help them better understand the energy dysfunctions that cause diseases.

The production of energy inside living cells is basic to correct metabolic function. Consequently, specific organelles exist that are called chloroplasts in plant cells and mitochondria in animal cells. In these, plants transform the energy of the sun into useful chemical energy – in a procedure known as photosynthesis – and creatures combust food with oxygen from the air to utilize the energy discharged amid breathing.

Both procedures include the exchange of electrons between particular proteins. For that, it is important to have physical contact among them and the consequent formation of a momentary middle of the road state to set up the course of exchange. For quite a long time, this has been the central dogma in the investigation of metabolic vitality in biology

This undertaking has figured out how to demonstrate that proteins in aqueous solution can exchange electrons large separations, without the requirement for direct contact between them, which contradicts the exploratory proof accessible until now.

The finding makes it possible to explain not only the high speed of transfer of electrons but also the high rates of replacement and efficiency that exist between proteins in chloroplasts and mitochondria.

The discovery allows, also, for a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that govern the production of energy in biology and, as a result, in the molecular bases of the energy dysfunctions that cause diseases.

The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.


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