Researchers Observe a Protein Conducting Electricity

By: | November 13th, 2017

Protein conducting electricity

Illustration of the alphaVbeta3 protein conducting electricity. (Weisi Song, Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University)

Scientists are totally baffled by this completely unpredictable discovery: They caught one particular protein conducting electricity.

Proteins, which are the building blocks for cells, are considered to be inert organic matter. However, researchers at Arizona State University have observed that a particular protein, known as alphaVbeta3, can conduct electricity.

While experimenting with DNA and amino acid readers developed by lead researcher Stuart Lindsay, researchers trapped individual molecules between electrodes. When the researchers placed the alphaVbeta3 protein between the two electrodes, they found that it demonstrated “remarkably high electronic conductance.”

“If it’s true, it’s amazing,” says Lindsay. “What this paper is mainly testing out are all the alternative explanations of our data, and ruling out all of the artefacts.”

He added, “Basically, we’ve eliminated all of those sources of ‘I don’t believe this data’ and we are still seeing this weird behavior of this huge protein conducting electricity. It’s still there and it’s beautiful.”

This is an amazing discovery. If scientists can find a way to use this finding, it can give us a diagnostic tool for medical use, which can help in identifying single protein molecules with a little blip of electrical current.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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