Challenges of protein identification by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry

The gold standard approach for identifying a protein is Western blot, which uses a primary antibody to recognize the target protein for subsequent visualization of the protein band by chemiluminescence. More recently, various mass spectrometry-based methods have been developed for the detection and identification of proteins.   These techniques could be classified into fragmentation-based methods … More Challenges of protein identification by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry

Cryo electron microscopy’s increasingly important role in structural biology

Cryo electron microscopy has been increasingly used in determining the structure of biomolecules such as proteins down to the atomic resolution level of 2 to 4 Angstrom. More importantly, capable of determining the native structure of proteins in frozen solutions, the method is finding increasing use in protein structure elucidation. Specifically, cryo electron microscopy find … More Cryo electron microscopy’s increasingly important role in structural biology

Obtaining movies of molecular movement of proteins through serial femtosecond crystallography

Seeing is believing; thus, it would be much better if we could observe real-time molecular level movement of proteins during catalysis, where, for example, binding of a substrate to an active site leads to molecular cleavage and enzymatic action. But, this feat is not realized until recent advent of serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX).   In … More Obtaining movies of molecular movement of proteins through serial femtosecond crystallography

Ultrafast femtosecond imaging of molecular dynamics by tetrahertz scanning tunnelling microscopy

Article in Nature, Vol. 539, 10 November 2016, pp. 263, “Tracking the ultrafast motion of a single molecule by femtosecond orbital imaging”   Summary of article: Low current, low temperature, tetrahertz scanning tunnelling microscopy was used to probe the intrinsic dynamics of molecular motion at the femtosecond timescale.   Link to original article: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v539/n7628/full/nature19816.html   … More Ultrafast femtosecond imaging of molecular dynamics by tetrahertz scanning tunnelling microscopy

Difficulty of separating and fractionating complex biological medium

Understanding the composition of a growth medium is essential to full knowledge of the signalling, metabolite exchanges, and byproducts generated during growth of cells in the medium. But, the endeavour is usually fraught with difficulties of separating or fractionating different components present in the medium by a variety of instrumented techniques such as high performance … More Difficulty of separating and fractionating complex biological medium

Structural impediments to synthesis of bacterial cell wall

Article in Nature, Vol. 533, Issue 7604, pp. 557-560, “Structural insights into inhibition of lipid I production in bacterial cell wall synthesis”   Summary of article: Using X-ray diffraction, isothermal titration calorimetry and modelling, modes of binding and conformational rearrangement induced by binding of a synthesized inhibitor into a glycosyl transferase class enzyme was studied, … More Structural impediments to synthesis of bacterial cell wall

Probing complex molecules with infrared frequency comb spectroscopy

Article in Nature, Vol. 533, Issue 7604, pp. 517, “Continuous probing of cold complex molecules with infrared frequency comb spectroscopy”   Summary of article: Cavity enhanced direct frequency comb infrared spectroscopy was demonstrated to be useful in detecting multiple rotations and vibrational states of a molecule in a broadband manner; thus, opening up its use … More Probing complex molecules with infrared frequency comb spectroscopy

Smartphones as instruments for science

Feature article in Nature, Vol. 545, Issue 7652, pp. 119-121, 04 May 2017, “Pocket laboratories”   Summary of article: Since its introduction in 2007, smartphones have achieved a level of penetration in the consumer market, both in developing countries and developed economies, that it is almost ubiquitous in life. Buttressed by the multi-function and customization … More Smartphones as instruments for science

Probing a geological question on Mars: What is the correct price for a robotic scientific mission to another planet?

NASA’s upcoming Insight’s mission is a lander designed to probe the seismic environment of Mars. Equipped with a seismometer, the mission’s main scientific objectives is to understand the geological activity of present day Mars, a goal that is on the one side, controversial, but on the other, useful and with an expensive price tag.   … More Probing a geological question on Mars: What is the correct price for a robotic scientific mission to another planet?

Elucidating molecular processes of molecules in dilute solutions with X-ray free electron laser spectroscopy

With diffraction quality crystals a rarity and some compounds and proteins almost impossible to crystallize, or in a crystal form without ligand in binding cavity, structural biology is often thought of as a field for the most patient. Why? Notwithstanding whether a particular target protein would form crystals of quality sufficient for structural elucidation, some … More Elucidating molecular processes of molecules in dilute solutions with X-ray free electron laser spectroscopy