Sunday, May 15, 2011

Proteins you shouldn't miss: major histocompatibility complex

How can a protein function both as a "protector and a matchmaker"? Read Allison Sterling's page on major histocompatibility complex to learn more.

Proteins you shouldn't miss: DNA helicase

Visit the page by Amanda Erwood for DNA helicase. Ever wonder how DNA gets pried apart when it needs to be copied? Or how about when there is RNA to be made--how does the polymerase get in there? Look at this page to find out more.

Proteins you shouldn't miss: bifunctional enzyme

How many proteins contain two different enzymes, one of which makes a compound, and the other which breaks it down? (This may very well be the protein that inspired Stephen Wright's question of what would happen if you let a humidifier and dehumidifier duke it out in the same room.) How many proteins contain one form that is activated by one signal in muscle and inactivated by the same signal in liver?

To learn more, check out Alex Cortez's page on the bifunctional enzyme.

Proteins you shouldn't miss: malate synthase

Visit the page by Milton Herrold on malate synthase to see how it helps microorganisms as efficient as possible.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Proteins you shouldn't miss: choleratoxin

Though it was the year of the invasive protein, choleratoxin lost a close match to bacteriorhodopsin in the first round. Perhaps we were too calmed by its poppy-like appearance to take its venom seriously:

Check out Alyson de Walle's choleratoxin page to learn more.

Proteins you shouldn't miss: riboflavin synthase

Visit the page by Eric Prins for riboflavin synthase, a protein that faced an unfortunate early exit due to its match up with Final Four participant glutamine synthetase in the first round.

Riboflavin synthase, we hardly knew ye, and we are the poorer for it.

Friday, May 13, 2011

What's at stake

My fellow protein lovers, I present to you the Jane Richardson Cup:

The student's name and his or her winning structure will be displayed in the top medallion, and the names of the winner and the structure will be engraved on the base.

Getting to know the Final Four: anthrax toxin

Check out anthrax toxin's page from Anna Kim.

Getting to know the Final Four: rubisco

Check out rubisco's page from Cheri Ackerman.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Final Four

Final Four matchups:

hemagglutinin vs. glutamine synthetase


anthrax toxin vs. RuBisCO

The Final Four is set!

Congratulations to hemagglutinin, glutamine synthetase, anthrax toxin, and rubisco! More details on the contestants and the voting will be coming soon.

Monday, May 9, 2011

the Elite 8

On Wednesday we will have our Final Four!

Linus Pauling Regional:

Hemagglutinin vs. telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT)

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Regional:

luciferase vs. glutamine synthetase

Jane Richardson Regional:

Anthrax toxin vs. nitrogenase

Max Perutz Regional:

Na+/K+ pump vs. RuBisCO

updated bracket--Elite 8

We had yet another tie-breaker, and this one took a few hours to settle. Only 8 proteins remain--who will make it to the Final Four on Wednesday?

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Sweet 16

I wonder where I could use a "C" with these colors...

Linus Pauling Regional:

Hemagglutinin vs. IgG

telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) vs. triose phosphate isomerase

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Regional:

Fibrin vs. luciferase

dicer vs. glutamine synthetase

Jane Richardson Regional:

Anthrax toxin vs. neuraminidase

aquaporin vs. nitrogenase

Max Perutz Regional:

Na+/K+ pump vs. NO synthase

DNA ligase vs. RuBisCO

updated bracket--Sweet 16

Two match-ups went to overtime, and two others were decided by the slimmest of margins. Here is where we start seeing the tense contests!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Background information on the bracket namesakes

Linus Pauling won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in part for predicting the structures of α-helices and β-sheets. He won a second Nobel Prize in Peace for his work on nuclear disarmament. He was close to a third for the structure of DNA, but Watson and Crick beat him to it.

suggested links:

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin was a pioneer in x-ray crystallography, and many of the early protein crystallographers credit her work as a forerunner for theirs. She solved the first structures of vitamin B12 and insulin, among other things. She won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work in 1964

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Jane Richardson was trained as a philosopher and a physicist but soon turned to studies of protein structures. She developed a means of representing α-helices and β-sheets in tertiary structures that is now the standard for protein structures, and she has continued her work as a pioneer in protein structure study and representation. She is now a member of the National Academy of Sciences, among other awards. In honor of her beautiful illustrations that have become the standard for understanding structure/function relationships, the prize for Protein of the Year is named “The Jane Richardson Cup.”

suggested links:

Max Perutz is another giant in protein x-ray crystallography, having solved the initial structures of both oxy- and deoxyhemoglobin and proposing the Perutz mechanism by which hemoglobin switches between the R state and T state to bind and release oxygen. Along with John Kendrew, he received the Nobel Prize for his work in studying the structures of globular proteins.

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Protein of the Year 2011: matchups with links

Linus Pauling Regional:

Hemagglutinin vs. malate synthase

Concanavalin A vs. troponin

COX1&COX2 vs. IgG

β-secretase vs. phosphofructokinase-1

ubiquitin vs. telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT)

p-glycoprotein vs. calmodulin

triose phosphate isomerase vs. actin

HIV-1 integrase vs. botulinum toxin

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Regional:

Fibrin vs. bifunctional enzyme

Xanthine oxidoreductase vs. dystrophin

Lactate dehydrogenase vs. luciferase

Cytochrome P450 vs. DNA polymerase I

Light-induced protochlorophyllide reductase vs. insulin

Dicer vs. pepsin

Lysozyme vs. Tol C

Riboflavin synthase vs. glutamine synthetase

Jane Richardson Regional:

Anthrax toxin vs. catalase

Divalent ion metal transporter (DMIT) vs. major histocompatibility complex (MHC)

Histones vs. neuraminidase

β-propeller vs. antifreeze protein

prions vs. aquaporin

HIV-1 protease vs. cytochrome bc1

Bacteriorhodopsin vs. choleratoxin

Cadherin vs. nitrogenase

Max Perutz Regional:

Albumin vs. isocitrate dehydrogenase

Na+/K+ pump vs. thrombin

Inteins vs. NO synthase

Hemoglobin vs. methylmalonyl CoA mutase

Alcohol dehydrogenase vs. dipeptidyl peptidase

Leghemoglobin vs. DNA ligase

Mechanosensitive channel of small conductance (MscS) vs. kinesin

DNA helicase vs. RuBisCO