The University of California researchers have left no stones unturned in case of cryo-electron microscopy. They have imaged freeze-frames of the altering shape of a titanic molecule which is a key molecular machinery of the body that locks on top of the DNA and performs its function of reading the entire genetic code.
The molecule named transcription factor IID (TFIID) is one of the vital factors that transcribe genes into RNA that can further be used as blueprints for protein making. The moving TFIID’s 3D structure and large size make it hard to capture it. The cryo-EM is an imaging technique that helps image the bulky and floppy structures without any blurring. The transcribing instructions on the genome with TFIID’s assistance or malfunctioning can be understood clearly through the high-resolution structural information. This detailed imaging is a benefit for the drug manufacturers to make drugs which play an important role in the interfering with the structural alterations of the molecule so as to brunt the expression of the gene which may lead to a disease in the later stage.
The structures can help design molecules that can hamper the normal function and bring about an overall alteration. The drug’s design and functionality highly depend on the altering nature of the structures. This is still a topic the researchers are still studying on. The complicated structure and constant movement of the TFIID molecule on the genome is something the traditional drug discoverers are still working on. The freezing of the flexible TFIID molecule using cryo-EM helps study the structure which helps pave way for the complete druggable targets. Recently, Dr. Ravi Muddashetty at InStem has discovered a specific set of markers that can identify the ribosomes that produce a certain set of proteins and this process is linked to the maturity of the nervous system.