(Photo: Craig Hatfield)
You can't unring a bell, but you can unboil an egg. Gregory Weiss, a professor of biochemistry at the University of California at Irvine, and his colleagues untangled the proteins of cooked egg whites to return a key protein to its previous uncooked state. A press release quotes Weiss:
“Yes, we have invented a way to unboil a hen egg,” said Gregory Weiss, UCI professor of chemistry and molecular biology & biochemistry. “In our paper, we describe a device for pulling apart tangled proteins and allowing them to refold. We start with egg whites boiled for 20 minutes at 90 degrees Celsius and return a key protein in the egg to working order.”
What's the point of this research? The ability to untangle proteins could lead to much cheaper cancer drugs:
“This method … could transform industrial and research production of proteins,” the researchers write in ChemBioChem.
For example, pharmaceutical companies currently create cancer antibodies in expensive hamster ovary cells that do not often misfold proteins. The ability to quickly and cheaply re-form common proteins from yeast or E. coli bacteria could potentially streamline protein manufacturing and make cancer treatments more affordable.
-via Jonah Goldberg