Discloses route search for the functioning of proteins in the body

Parameter was found for the first time; diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are related to poor performance of protein

With the help of computer models simplified Brazilian research could ram, for the first time uncover a route capable of increasing the understanding of the operation of proteins in the body. The study was conducted on the campus of São José do Rio Preto, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) and with the collaboration of researchers from Rice University in Houston, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Scientists try to find out how this process, called protein folding, for decades. Action happens in a matter of seconds or even milliseconds.

Besides creating a bridge between theoretical and experimental results, the study may be useful for researchers from various fields, especially health. Several diseases are related to malfunctioning proteins, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, cystic fibrosis, phenylketonuria and cancer. Under these conditions, there is an external agent rather than the body itself, for some reason, fails to maintain the protein in its native structure, said Barbanti Vitor Pereira Leite, head researcher.

The folding occurs for the protein to perform its function within the body - be it structural, enzymatic, hormonal, energy, defense and transportation of nutrients. Thus, the chain of amino acids that comprise need to mold in order to achieve a specific three-dimensional shape.

According to Leite, studies done in the 60s showed that the proteins were randomly explore all possible configurations to reach the native structure, the folding process would take a while equivalent to the age of the universe, he says.

Further according to the researcher already known that all information required for the folding to occur was contained in the amino acid sequence itself, since the process was able to be reproduced in a test tube, without the influence of biological factors. Then came the hypothesis that there would be a route that would facilitate the arrival in that functional status.

Veja o artigo publicado na revista Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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