February 6, 2015

Diamonds could help bring proteins into focus

(Feb.6, '15) New technique could use tiny diamond defects to reveal unprecedented detail of molecular structures.

Proteins are the building blocks of all living things, and they exist in virtually unlimited varieties, most of whose highly complex structures have not yet been determined. Those structures could be key to developing new drugs or to understanding basic biological processes.

But figuring out the arrangement of atoms in these complicated, folded molecules usually requires getting them to form crystals large enough to be observed in detail — and for many proteins, that is either impossible or dauntingly difficult.