Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Back after a long hiatus

I decided to start this blog up again as a fully-specialized blog about science, leaning strongly toward discussions of structural biology. When I started this over 8 years ago, I was just out of undergrad and wanted a place to discuss all sorts of ideas, not just about science but about the world in general. And since my science-brain was developed but my worldview-brain wasn't (well, in many ways it still isn't, but that's another story), it was very disorganized. I'm sure most people who came here to read about science didn't care about my possibly weird opinions on everything that was going on in the news, society, etc.

Then why did I decide to start blogging again at all? Well, I'm finding that as I read through the many published articles on structural biology, I often have hypotheses and hunches that I could never publish, and that pertain to fields so far apart in terms of the underlying biology that I couldn't possibly study all of them. I felt I needed a place to "air" these ideas, where anyone who wants to read them (maybe even some people who work on the relevant systems) can do so. 

While I sometimes have these ideas about other areas of science, I can't state them nearly as precisely as my hypotheses regarding protein structure. Therefore they're best suited to in-person discussions with me at a bar or something like that. Plus, being visual, I find that ideas about protein structure are more intuitive to describe, too.

An example of the why I want a blog like this--it turns out that the metal ion that I hypothesized here to trigger GTP hydrolysis in transcription factors has since been found to exist(1) (at least in eIF5, which is homologous to EF-Tu and EF-G), contrary to the preliminary data I reported on in my last post, and it's virtually exactly where I predicted it. It took an additional four years for it to be found, though, probably because the resolution of the ribosome-bound elongation factor structures was too low to observe it.

If you notice, I'm also moving to a more proper citation format. This post only has one, but upcoming posts may have many, and I want to make sure I'm properly referencing the publications on which I base my hypotheses.

(1)Kuhle B, Ficner R. A monovalent cation acts as structural and catalytic cofactor in translational GTPases. The EMBO journal. 33(21):2547-63. 2014. [pubmed]

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