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2011 News in Brief



Pulling the tail of mutated protein could help illuminate mechanics behind rapid-aging disease

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Researchers at MIT and Carnegie Mellon University are using civil engineering and bioengineering approaches to study the behavior of a protein associated with progeria, a rare disorder in children that causes rapid aging and usually ends in death before age 16. The disease is marked by the deletion of 50 amino acids near the end of the lamin A protein, which helps support a cell’s nuclear membrane. CEE Professor Markus Buehler and graduate student Zhao Qin used molecular modeling to simulate the behavior of the protein’s tail under stress in much the same way a traditional civil engineer might test the strength of a beam: by applying pressure. Read a news release.