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Elucidation of essential role of water on protein biological function
-Observation of fluctuation of protein structure and hydration water by neutron scattering-

Jul. 28, 2010

Joint research group of Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA, President Toshio Okazaki), and Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) has succeeded to elucidate that network formation of protein hydration water is essential for protein biological function.

Water is indispensible for life. Water serves as a solvent for biomolecules such as proteins. It is basic subject to elucidate the relationship between protein and water in order to understand the protein biological function. Water in a cell of living organisms exists largely as hydration water, which is involved with various biological processes even at the molecular level. Proteins utilize the thermal fluctuation of the protein for biological functions. Such a thermal fluctuation is substantially provided by water molecules in the cell. But the role of hydration water for protein fluctuation remains unclear.

We have examined the structure and dynamics of hydration water coupled with the fluctuation of protein Staphylococcal nuclease by neutron scattering experiment at JRR-3 and molecular dynamics simulation. It has been elucidated that fluctuation of hydration water network over whole protein induces the protein fluctuation. In other words, the network formation of the hydration water is essential for protein biological function.

The results will contribute not only to the basic knowledge about role of water for life science in molecular level but also to various fields of science including mechanism of enzyme activity, drug design and biotechnology such as food storage.

This work has been published in Journal of the Physical Society of Japan 79, 083801 (2010). This paper is selected by the Editorial Board as Papers of Editors´┐Ż Choice.


Elucidation of essential role of water on protein biological function  -observation of fluctuation of protein structure and hydration water by neutron scattering-

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