Researchers from Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences have gained insights into the architecture of a protein that controls iron levels in almost all organisms.
NTU said that the breakthrough may aid in drug design and generation of unique nanomaterials with applications beyond medicine.
Their research on the protein ferritin has culminated in one of the first successful attempts to take apart a complex biological nanostructure and isolate the rules that govern its assembly.
This could lead to a fundamental understanding of the interactions that lead to brain deposits in many diseases associated with aging.
The research team’s study is published in this week’s issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Ferritin regulates the distribution of iron, which is necessary for a number of cellular functions, but iron also forms reactive ions that can be potentially damaging to DNA molecules and thus lead to cancer.