Small Angle X-rays Scattering Studies of Biomolecules
S.S. Funari
MPI for Colloids and Interfaces, c/o HASYLAB Notkestr. 85, 22603 Hamburg, Germany
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The building units of biological systems, the biomolecules, cannot easily be organized or even classified into defined categories. They can be as simple as water or complex as tintin, a muscle protein extremely large with several thousand atoms. To understand their function, one must know their characteristics, where they occur and what they do. One approach to reach such an ambitious task is to determine their structure, as single molecules or assembled into aggregates. Small angle X-ray scattering is the most important method for this purpose. We present studies carried out on several systems, and aiming at different questions about them. We start with lipids, the main components of the cell membranes. These membranes form the cell boundaries, the moiety required for the so-called membrane proteins, but also influence significantly several aspects of biological activity. More complex systems like a muscle fibre is also presented, showing that changes in the structure are related to the movement mechanism. It becomes easy to conclude that knowing the structures and the changes occurring in them is an important way to understand the function of biomolecules and therefore their role in the life cycle.
DOI: 10.12693/APhysPolA.101.647
PACS numbers: 61.10.-i, 87.80.-y, 64.75.+g