Just days after the Diamond Light Source opened its doors, scientists from The University of Oxford have successfully used it to solve a protein structure.rofessor David Stuart, who heads the Medical Research Council (MRC) Structural Biology Division at the university's Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, used Diamond to solve the 3-dimensional structure of a protein involved in cancer.
he work being undertaken by Professor Stuart's research group is part of a large project, funded by the European Commission, which aims to solve the structures of protein clusters involved in human cellular signalling. The research group used Diamond to solve the structure of a cluster of proteins with crucial roles in organism development. The same proteins are also involved with the formation of cancerous tumours, learning and memory processes, and viral infection processes.
Major projects at the Structural Biology Division are funded by the MRC, Cancer Research UK and the European Commission, and investigate mechanisms to make drugs more effective at combating cancer and viral infections. An important part of such investigations is finding out the shape and structure of biological molecules, as these characteristics help determine their function.
Another member of the research team, Professor E. Yvonne Jones, said: "The resolution the Diamond facility gives has provided us with significant new information of vital importance to drug design. Diamond will keep the UK at the forefront of research into structural biology well into the next decade".