by Aaron Gochman (’18)
Structural biology is a division within biological research that aims to discover the atomic structures of molecules and understand their functions. In a recent paper, an international team of scientists discovered the crystal structure of doublecortin-C, a protein important for neurogenesis. Doublecortin-C plays a role in maintaining the structure of neurons in the brain; mutations in this protein have been known to cause catastrophic brain formation disorders.
The team produced four separate structures of the N-terminal domain of the protein; the structure showed that this region of the protein, genetically located at the beginning of the DNA sequence, folds in a similar way as the C-terminal domain, genetically located at the end of the DNA sequence.
The findings from this paper suggest that the N-terminal domain of doublecortin may have different roles in protein folding and dynamic than previously thought.
- D. Burger et. al., Crystal structures of the human doublecortin C-and N-terminal domains in complex with specific antibodies. Journal of Biological Chemistry, jbc-M116 (2016).