Saturday, September 09, 2006

 

'Frankenstein protein' defies biology textbooks

New Scientist News Report: Molecular biology textbooks will need a little tweaking. Researchers have discovered a bizarre "Frankenstein protein" on the surface of leukaemia cells, with peptides stitched together in reverse order to that coded for by their DNA template.

It has always been believed that the structure of a protein is fixed by the DNA template that encodes it. But it now appears that the story does not end there. After the protein has been made, a little shuffling may occur.

The sequence of peptides - the building blocks of a protein - is not always the same as the template sequence of DNA that encodes them, say the researchers. It may also have implications for the development of peptide vaccines against cancer and infectious diseases.

The finding, by Edus Warren, at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, US, and colleagues, is very interesting "because nobody expected that to happen", says Ken-ichi Hanada, at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, US. [Evolution]
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Based on the journal Science paper "An Antigen Produced by Splicing of Noncontiguous Peptides in the Reverse Order" (Abstract).

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