Courtesy: Robert L. Duda (a), Matthijn Vos (b) and James F. Conway (a); a. University of Pittsburgh; b. FEI Company
Revealing 3D macromolecular complexes
Structural biology explores the functional mechanistics of molecular structures such as proteins, protein complexes and protein-ribonucleic acid associations - the fundamental building blocks of life.
Scientists seek to understand how these structures are designed and how structural variations affect functionality. Structural biology research is essential to understanding the origins of events such as pathogen-induced and age related diseases, allergic hypersensitivities, and cell growth and differentiation.
Today, many structural biologists are interested in finding innovative ways to intervene in disease processes and find new preventive measures, treatments, and pharmaceutical agents. This requires the in vivo exploration of the molecular mechanisms of diseases, to unambiguously determine the conformation of flexible protein structures in their natural biological context. Understanding these activities will unravel the fundamentals of life and may consequently lead towards wide scale pharmaceutical solutions for treating fundamental diseases and disorders.