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Santa comes to science

This month, researchers decided to play around with a particular protein structure

The Scientist Staff
If you're going to go to the trouble of highlighting one protein structure out of nearly 3,000, you might as well have a little fun with it.That's what a group of researchers did this month. They're part of the Protein Structure Initiative, a joint public-private venture that aims to decipher protein structures from DNA sequences using X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy, and use resulting structures as templates to develop models of related proteins. Every month, the group presents the PSI "Structure of the Month," one of the more than 2,700 protein structures researchers have already assembled.
This month's protein, from the plant pathogen Xanthomonas campestris, assumes a shape that looks as much like a Christmas wreath as anything made of common greens. Since the protein copies crystallize to form a ring, the researchers decided to festively "trim" it. So far, no one knows the protein's function. The...

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