Researchers at the University of California in Berkeley have uncovered the secrets of how proteins fold into elaborate three-dimensional shapes, by making them perform ‘hatha yoga.
A problem that has bedeviled biologists for decades is why a chain of amino acids always folds in a specific way.
Grabbing both ends of a single protein, they pulled and slowly unbent the protein, then gradually let it relax into its original 3-D shape.
As they put the protein through stretches and relaxations reminiscent of ‘hatha yoga,’ they found that in the process of folding, some proteins go through an intermediate state totally unlike their final configuration – a resting state before the final folding occurs.
‘Hatha yoga’ reveals secrets of protein folding