Protein C4BP is Shaped Like a Spider

Posted on April 26, 2013

Protein C4BP

The shape of protein C4BP is similar to a spider with its spatial form and eight "arms." The structure of the protein's spider-like body has been described in detail by researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig and the Technische Universitat Darmstadt. C4BP is involved in the immune defence against bacteria in the blood. The research was published here in the Journal of Molecular Biology.

The researchers say the protein is possibly suitable as a scaffold for the transport of active pharmaceutical substances, such as biomolecules. The researchers found that seven of the protein's arms are identical as "alpha chains," while the eighth, a "beta chain" is different from the others. The spider body that holds these side chains together is called the oligomerisation domain. Its structure was of special interest to researchers, because it determines the spatial alignment of the "arms." The researchers now want to make use of the protein's spatial structure. They have facilitated biochemical synthesis of the molecule and want to try using other biomolecules in place of some of the alpha chains.

Image: © HZI / Schmelz

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