The group of Helen Saibil at Birkbeck College determined the shape of the perforin pore, which killer cells of our immune system use to eliminate cancerous or virus-infected cells, which suggested how the protein subunits could be arranged. In collaboration with researchers at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia) who solved the crystal structure of the individual protein blocks that assemble to form this pore, the group has now come to a conclusive model, which is “the wrong way round” compared to what they were expecting based on similar bacterial pores.
Read my news item in Chemistry World here.
(image courtesy of Helen Saibil, Birkbeck College London)
R.H.P. Law et al. Nature online DOI: 10.1038/nature09518