Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Transporter Trump Card!

Imagine this. You are playing a card game you have never played before. Going into the last hand you are tied for the lead, but you don't think it looks too promising. Everyone gasps as you lay down your last card. It was the trump card, you had no idea your card was so great! I think you can see where this is going. I picked my protein because I thought it looked cool. Looking through the literature I started to get a little nervous, there was not a whole lot to this protein. I mean, all it does is let ions pass across a membrane with a couple of forms of regulation. Then I thought about it for a minute and realized how big of deal this protein is! Magnesium and Cobalt transport is the main function of this protein. In bacteria and archaea, these transporters are the primary transporters of these ions! This means that without this protein literally hundreds of proteins and enzymes cease to function. For example, Glycolysis stops, as do the Calvin cycle, photosynthesis and nearly every other pathway in the cell. ATP is activated by binding to Magnesium and therefore every enzyme that operates using ATP will no longer function. Also, just to be sure, Cobalt is an essential part of Vitamin B12. I think it is safe to say that without this protein, life does not stand a chance.

In case by some act of will you have not already stopped reading this and gone straight to vote it the protein of the year, there is more. Not only is it crazy important and has looks that speak for itself, it is also smart. You see, many other proteins and enzymes rely on complex signaling mechanisms to tell them what to do because they can't make up their minds for themselves. Not this guy, it is regulated by ion binding. This means that it senses cellular concentrations and either transports ions across the membrane or not depending on whether it is needed or not. Beauty and brains, when you come across a combo like that, its a sure bet for protein of the year! Its like going to a beauty pageant but the models don't only say they want world peace but tell you how they are going to achieve it. Now that just doesn't happen.

Besides, with a little creative coloring, you have flowers. Its starting to sound like a laundry list, but this thing also has charm. I'm not sure what else could be asked for.

Alright, vote time....go for it!