Misfolded and Aggregated Proteins Draw New Attention

A Biotechnology Progress article, “Protein Misfolding and Aggregation Research: Some Thoughts on Improving Quality and Utility” by Regina M. Murphy (corresponding author) of the Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI and Christopher J. Roberts of the Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, describes what the authors believe are some key features of high-quality publications in protein aggregation. You can read the article in full for free for a limited time.  

Yesterday's trash, today's hot topic

To quote from the article’s author abstract, “Once misfolded and aggregated proteins were as interesting as yesterday's trash, just a bothersome byproduct of productive activities. Today, they attract sustained interest from both basic researchers and practicing engineers. In the burgeoning biopharmaceutical industry, protein misfolding and aggregation pose significant challenges to the economic manufacture of safe and effective protein products. In the clinic, protein aggregates are believed to be pathological agents in a number of serious neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Over the past few years, the quantity of research into biotechnological aspects of protein misfolding and aggregation has skyrocketed. However, the quality of the published work is quite variable…. We focus on experimental studies that may also have a kinetic modeling component.”

Above, a figure from the article shows a typical protein aggregation process in which the smallest irreversible aggregate species is a small oligomer. The curves were generated using a mass-action population-balance model, with the rate of growth equal to 10,000 times the rate of nucleation. The left y-axis quantifies the amount of monomer remaining (solid black curve) and the increase in a quantity such as absorbance of bound dye or turbidity (dotted red curve), with all quantities scaled between 0 and 1. The right y-axis quantifies the weight-average molecular weight (Mw) averaged over the entire sample, such as that measured by static laser scattering or the low-angle limit of small-angle x-ray and neutron scattering.

Article ranking rising

The article has a high Altmetric Attention Score of 15.

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Biotechnology Progress

Biotechnology Progress, the official publication of AIChE’s Society for Biological Engineering, delivers peer-reviewed research reports and reviews in the fast-evolving bioprocessing, biomedical, and biomolecular fields. Learn more.

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