Structural biology

Definition

Structural biology is the study of the molecular structure and dynamics of biological macromolecules, particularly proteins and nucleic acids, and how alterations in their structures affect their function. Structural biology incorporates the principles of molecular biology, biochemistry and biophysics.

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Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • Editorial |

    Four Nature papers describing the receptor structures involved in glucose metabolism hold great promise for finding new ways to treat diabetes.

  • News and Views |

    Interaction with heterotrimeric G proteins is a hallmark of G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) family members, and it is the key step for a diverse range of cell-signaling cascades. A recent cryo-EM structure of the human calcitonin receptor (CTR) in complex with a G-protein heterotrimer reveals novel insights into receptor–G-protein coupling.

    • Mithu Baidya
    • , Hemlata Dwivedi
    •  & Arun K Shukla
  • News and Views |

    Structural and functional studies of the archaeum Methanocaldococcus jannaschii Argonaute (MjAgo) reveal a DNA-guided DNA nuclease that is also active without a guide. This unguided activity is suggested to prime MjAgo for its subsequent sequence-specific DNA-silencing role in host defence.

    • Lennart Randau
  • News and Views |

    The antimalarial mefloquine has been used in the clinic for decades, yet its mode of action has remained elusive. Now, a study reports that the enantiomer (+)-mefloquine binds to the cytosolic ribosome of the major malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    • Jeremy Burrows
  • News and Views |

    Structural analysis of the mycobacterial ESX-5 secretion complex presents an important step towards understanding how the ESX type VII (T7) secretion systems can translocate a multitude of substrates — including virulence factors involved in pathogenesis — across the bacterial cell envelope.

    • Tracy Palmer