MAY 23, 2020 7:09 AM PDT

Improving the understanding of GPCRs functioning

New research reported in Current Opinion in Structural Biology combines structural and spectroscopic approaches to garner precise information on the functioning of GPCRs (G protein-coupled receptors). GPCRs are a large family of membrane receptors that share a common structure; they have been linked to neurodegenerative, cardiovascular diseases, and some cancers.

"Currently, scientists have two options when it comes to studying proteins,” explains Anastasia Gusach, a research fellow at the MIPT Laboratory of Structural Biology of G-protein Coupled Receptors, where the research was conducted. “They can either 'freeze' a protein and have its precise static snapshot, or study its dynamics at the cost of losing details. The former approach uses methods such as crystallography and cryogenic electron microscopy; the latter uses spectroscopic techniques.”

But, as Gusach elaborated, neither of these approaches provides all the information one would want when looking at GPCRs. So, MIPT biophysicists decided to combine the techniques in hopes of revealing both structural and dynamics information.

"Studying the GPCR dynamics uses cutting-edge methods of experimental biophysical analysis such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy, and advanced fluorescence microscopy techniques including single-molecule microscopy," says Alexey Mishin, deputy head of the MIPT Laboratory for Structural Biology of G-protein Coupled Receptors.

GPCRs are a target for many drugs because the membrane proteins have been connected to obesity, diabetes, and mental disorders, as well as the aforementioned diseases. The researchers hope that their technique will aid in developing more efficient drugs that target the GPCR family as well as provide insight on structure-based drug design overall. 

Source: Pixabay

"Biophysicists that use different methods to study GPCRs have been widely organizing collaborations that already bore some fruitful results. We hope that this review will help scientists specializing in different methods to find some new common ground and work together to obtain a better understanding of receptors' functioning," concludes Anastasia Gusach.

Sources: Current Opinion in Structural Biology, Eureka Alert

About the Author
BA Environmental Studies
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JUN 22, 2022
Space & Astronomy
A 'dark' free-floating black hole might have been detected
JUN 22, 2022
A 'dark' free-floating black hole might have been detected
Who doesn’t love black holes? From time immemorial, everyone has wanted to know what happens if you fall into a bl ...
JUN 21, 2022
Technology
New artificial intelligence chip could help you keep your smartphone longer
JUN 21, 2022
New artificial intelligence chip could help you keep your smartphone longer
Everyone loves technology, whether it’s a cellphone, smartwatch, or other wearable device that we use to get throu ...
JUN 23, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
What is New in ESA's Gaia's Third Data Release
JUN 23, 2022
What is New in ESA's Gaia's Third Data Release
Gaia is a survey mission launched in 2013 on a Soyuz-STB/Fregat-MT launch vehicle from the European Spaceport in Kourou, ...
JUN 29, 2022
Technology
All-in-one 3D printing method used to make robot materials in a single step
JUN 29, 2022
All-in-one 3D printing method used to make robot materials in a single step
Humanity is devoted to constructing its own demise because we’re absolutely obsessed with building robots, and the ...
JUL 28, 2022
Technology
Using Bacteria to Make Rocket Fuel
JUL 28, 2022
Using Bacteria to Make Rocket Fuel
A recent study conducted by a team of biofuel experts at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and publis ...
AUG 05, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Past extinction events due to temperature changes might not repeat for the future
AUG 05, 2022
Past extinction events due to temperature changes might not repeat for the future
In a recent study published in Biogeosciences, Professor Emeritus Kunio Kaiho of Tohoku University conducted a quantitat ...
Loading Comments...