We are developping interesting webwares for K-12 students to know more about Bioinformatics, machine learning and evolutionary computation. There are so many fascinating stories to tell about the living machine.
Finding the zip codes of proteins
Nice introduction to protein sorting mechanisms
The 1999 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Awarded to Günter Blobel for his contribution to Principles of Intracellular Protein Transport. His signal hypothesis states that the information for intracellular sorting and targeting, "termed ´protein topogenesis´, is encoded in discrete ´topogenic sequences´ that constitute a permanent or transient part of the polypeptide chain" turned out to be universally correct. Work in Blobel’s and other labs has clearly shown that this is the basic principle for sorting and membrane integration of proteins in bacteria, yeasts, plants and in mammalian cells. The essence of Blobel’s research is standard textbook knowlege today. And it has medical and application aspects: failure to correctly sort newly synthesized proteins can have pathological consequences. For example, lack of sugar modification of "sorting sequences" (5) contained in lysosomal proteins results in the secretion and appearance in the blood of hydrolytic enzymes instead of them being delivered to lysosomes, organelles responsible for intracellular digestion of macromolecules. This defect in protein sorting, a rare disorder, causes a severe lysosomal storage disease. The failure to properly deliver peroxisiomal proteins can result in another inherited human disease, the so-called Zellweger syndom, a severe disorder which leads to postnatal death of those individuals. Some forms of cystic fibrosis might be the consequence of an impaired channel protein delivery to the plasma membrane. As a given signal sequence can direct any protein to a specific cellular location, such sequence elements have also found biotechnological application. As pointed out by the Nobel Assembly, using Blobel’s discovery of protein sorting signals, bacteria and eukaryotic cells can be engineered to serve as potent factories for therapeutic proteins by modifying the desired proteins so that they easily traverse cellular membranes and are secreted. In fact, a brief look into biotech catalogues shows that numerous protein expression vectors for basic and applied research make use of sorting signal-containing fusions for easy recovery of the proteins under study.
Related reading: Huntington's Disease: A New MolecularZip Code And A New Drug Target.
NIH tutorial on Protein Sorting Mechanism
Computational identification of biomarkers for breast cancers diagnosis
You can read this paper Speeding up biomarker discovery
Biomarker Discovery on Wikipedia
NIH call for proposal to develop biomarkers for cancer detection
How dieases are linked with "molecular zip codes"
Yale Researcher Identifies Structure of Molecular "Zip Code" Reader
The Molecular Zip Code Research Yields a Drug Target
Molecular "zip-code" research receives major funding
1999 Nobel Prize awarded to Dr. Gunter Blobel for the discovery that "proteins have intrinsic signals that govern their transport and localization in the cell"
Protein docking for drug design
what is protein docking?