Memory Protein

Thursday, August 27, 2020

When UC Santa Barbara materials scientist Omar Saleh and graduate student Ian Morgan sought to understand the mechanical behaviors of disordered proteins in the lab, they expected that after being stretched, one particular model protein would snap back instantaneously, like a rubber band.

Instead, this disordered protein relaxed slowly, taking tens of minutes to relax into its original shape. The  behavior that defied expectations and hinted at an inner structure the existence of which had long been theorized but was difficult to prove.

Read the full article.

Image of a wadded-up paper, which, when released, unfolds slowly, as does the protein in question in this study.

When paper is wadded up and released, it relaxes slowly, not instantaneously. The disordered protein observed in this study exhibits a similar slow unfolding.