Menacing Microbes: Protein Models Reveal Secrets

9/15/2014; 46 minutes

Microbes are living organisms too small to be seen. While most are friendly to humans, some microbes, called pathogens, can cause disease. Although the medical field has created miraculous antimicrobial drugs to ward them off, menacing microbes often change their protein make-up in devious ways to evade being destroyed, resulting in antibiotic resistance and eventually "super-bugs." lead biologist on the LLNL Pathogen Bioinformatics team Beth Vitalis explains that proteins are diverse and dynamic biomolecules that determine how organisms thrive in changing environments. Protein modeling is a computational tool that researchers use to see microbial proteins. Using LLNL's high performance computational capabilities, 3D models are created of microbial proteins, providing visual tools to expose microbial secrets. This information can be used to help detect, understand, and identify new ways to treat the menacing microbes. (#28465)

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