Why Water Equals Lifeadmin
Water is an essential part of life, we cannot live, the organisms of the world, cannot live without it. But no one was really sure when it comes to protein water dynamics, why water is key to life as we know it.
In a study released this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers have determined that proteins, large complex molecules that must fold into certain shapes to enable biological reactions aren’t able to do so on their own. The work instead is done by much smaller water molecules, pushing and pulling them in certain ways, all at fractions of a second speeds.
“For a long time, scientists have been trying to figure out how water interacts with proteins. This is a fundamental problem that relates to protein structure, stability, dynamics and–finally—function.” said Dongping Zhong, lead researcher of the Ohio State University team. “We believe we now have strong direct evidence that on ultrafast time scales (picoseconds, or trillionths of a second), water modulates protein fluctuations.”
“Here, we’ve shown that the final shape of a protein depends on two things: water and the amino acids themselves. We can now say that, on ultrafast time scales, the protein surface fluctuations are controlled by water fluctuations. Water molecules work together like a big network to drive the movement of proteins.”
You can read more about the discovery here.