News & Media

March 13, 2015

Cells target giant protein crystals for degradation


Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan engineered a fluorescent protein that rapidly assembles into large crystals inside living cells, and showed that cells actively targeted the crystals for degradation. The unprecedented size and purity of these crystals allowed an analysis of the protein’s structure directly within the intact cell. The researchers were able to observe the crystallization process and the cell’s responses in real-time, potentially transforming the production and study of protein crystals. In this video Dr. Atsushi Miyawaki and Dr. Hidekazu Tsutsui explain their findings.

Press Release: Cells target giant protein crystals for degradation

Lysosome animation courtesy of Canadian Museum of Nature © Alex Tirabasso