When scientists begin to research a plant, they must identify their proteins, discover the machinery responsible for most of the tasks done in cells, and figure out how they interact with each other. By using traditional methods, scientists can identify a single protein. But that individual protein could be one of thousands they’re trying to learn about.
Purdue University has found a solution. Purdue Professor of Botany and Plant Pathology, Dan Szymanski, partnered with a graduate student to develop a method for getting at hard-to-reach proteins and identifying thousands at one time. This exciting discovery could allow scientists to easily understand complex protein interactions, how they grow, their heat and drought tolerance, and their yield.
Scientists typically use a method called “quantitative proteomics,” which analyzes thousands of protein complexes consisting of only soluble proteins in the cell that are not attached to a membrane surface. The problem is that nearly 70 percent of proteins in a plant are associated with membranes. That means that a lot of information and access to proteins are lost.
Szymanski and his team’s new method uses detergents to solubilize those proteins, making them identifiable and quantifiable without damaging their protein structures.
“In cells, thousands of protein complexes work in a coordinated way to allow the plant to grow and adapt to changing environmental conditions. This method will allow us to analyze how protein complexes function as part of an adaptable network.” Szymanski said.
To learn more about the opportunities for plant research and farming innovations due to this new method, read more here.More From: Purdue University
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