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JU research group publishes in "Science" results of experiments describing operation of one of the key enzymes of biological energy conversion

One of July issues of "Science" publishes the breakthrough findings that significantly advance our understanding of processes of energy conversion. They came from the research carried out by dr Artur Osyczka's group from Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology. The researchers investigated the molecular mechanism of action of one of the key components of respiratory and photosynthetic chains of living cells, cytochrome bc1 (or mitochondrial complex III). This protein, built of two identical monomers, has a very complex structural symmetry that until now has hampered understanding how the whole dimer works. The authors tackled the problem with an innovative approach: they used a model of photosynthetic bacterium and genetic engineering to construct a fusion protein where two monomers were joined together. This allowed them to break symmetry of the dimer and thereby provided unprecedented experimental possibility to test all possible combinations of potential ways of operation of this protein. The results revealed that the protein forms an H-shaped structure that functions like an electronic bus bar – a device often exploited by humans in everyday electronics. This explains what advantages the symmetry of this protein offers for respiration and photosynthesis and how it helps in fight against deleterious free radicals.

This work is part of the grant project awarded to dr Artur Osyczka by the Wellcome Trust.

According to ISI database for 1945-2010, this will be first publication in "Science" by polish research group and with corresponding author from JU.

Świerczek, M., Cieluch, E., Sarewicz, M., Borek, A., Moser, C. C., Dutton, P. L., Osyczka, A. "An electronic bus bar lies in the core of cytochrome bc1" Science (issue 23 July 2010).

For more information about the Osyczka's group and their research visit: www.wbbib.uj.edu.pl/mbg

Published Date: 23.07.2010
Published by: Mariusz Kopiejka
Uniwersytet Jagielloński