As a science, biological research is considered an indirect one. What it’s most concerned with is in measuring the results of ay stimulus to organisms, molecules, or cells. Usually, the stimulus is not known and most of the time, the consequence that gets recorded uses the readout of technical measurements. In many cases, the result may be an enticing cellular processes portrayal but it can rather be disappointing as well.
Structural biology is helpful for helping people see the details that are usually missing from such a view. It is a highly powerful tool that can be used towards getting a better understanding of the various exquisite and intricate mysteries surrounding life. For centuries now, humans have been able to successfully get a visual image of what a cell looks like inside. However, even some of the world’s most sophisticated microscopes have certain limitations when it comes to the amount of detail they can provide.
They are, after all, limited by the boundaries governing magnification. In some instances, it’s usually due to how the samples involved aren’t really working and alive. The method involved in structural biology delves right deep into these limitations so molecules are brought to life into three-dimensional images and with much sharper focus. It is responsible for reaching even the last vestige of the limits about the way molecules function and how this particular function may be modified.
Determining a molecule’s structure is one frustrating and tedious process. In many cases, this could take years. The reason proteins are usually focused on is due to how they seem to be part of the cell that is doing a lot of work. As a result, they become an important subject for structure analysis.
Proteins are made up from an amino acid string along with a template of DNA that then gets synthesized fold to become the complex coils, sheets and loops that they are known by most today— visually at least. The structure might look like a tangy mess but it is this very tangle that is responsible for dictating the manner of interaction between protein and the rest of the other structures around to ensure that its duties are duly undertaken inside the cell.
The symmetry and logic of the molecules along with the various complexes there are formed into are quite breathtaking and elegant at the same time. More importantly, they are also responsible for making it easier to understand the way that cells work. Now, sizes, shapes, and even molecule assemblies become so much easier to assign to different cell compartments, allowing us to put its surrounding environment put into context.
Structural biology aims to come up with a landscape that shows how the functions in the cell are duly represented. The pictures created afterwards are quite similar to dynamic and sophisticated metropolis where the relationships between molecules are broken or forged, long-term or short-term, and are also shaped depending on the inevitability of the reproduction of cells, their aging process and their death, ultimately, this will help lead to a better and more profound understanding of the building blocks of life.