Today I am sharing a short update of what I am doing in one of my PhD projects – Studying proteins!
When we study a larget set of proteins and their functions with specific experimental approaches or with the aid of equipment, we called this proteomics studies.
You have all heard about protein before and you probably also know that you should eat protein-rich foods.. for example, eggs, soy, milk, yoghurt, nuts, beans.. etc.
But, do you know what is a protein? and why is it important?
Briefly, protein is one of the most important building blocks that can make sure that your body keeps functioning. When you get injured, proteins can build and replace the broken parts in your body, like your skin.. your muscle.. your heart.. your kidneys.. your blood….very crucial to ensure that you and I… all stay alive!!
Each protein is made of smaller molecules, known as the amino acids. They have very specific functions in the body and also have their own chores and partners to work together with. You can produce some of it but have to take in the other essential ones via your diet.
So, the human is not the only one who can produce proteins to keep body functioning, BACTERIA (Tiny bugs that exist in the environment) can also produce proteins to help their body to function. In different situations, they tend to produce a different set of proteins to help them. For instance, when they experience an extreme temperature change in their surrounding, they will immediately sense the threat and quickly produce a set of protein (known as the heat-shock proteins) to protect them against the harsh condition, so that their cells can continue to work. Literally, this group of heat shock proteins acts as the bacteria’s survival tool to assist them to cope with stress and when their lives are in danger.
In this project, I am interested to look into all the proteins that a bug called the Bacillus produces under different stress conditions (heat, shortage of oxygen etc). I will also investigate WHEN does the bug produce WHICH group of proteins and WHAT are the functions of these proteins. Currently, I am researching on this topic at the University of Greifswald together with Dr. Jan Pané-Farré, the senior scientist at the Department of Microbial Physiology and Molecular Biology.
The University of Greifswald offers many advanced methods to study proteomics and there is a building that is recently constructed to fully dedicated to proteomic research, with brand new types of equipment and laboratory. I have already started with the quality control checks of my proteins, and very soon, we will be investigating the types of protein that the bug Bacillus produced under heat stress.
Which methods will I be using to find out this? I will explain you in my next blog update!! Stay tuned*****