Studying Flexible Proteins
Protein Tomography is also ideally suited to studying flexible proteins, such as antibodies, kinases, and complement factors, Sidec points out. By their nature, such proteins are not easily amenable to crystallization for study by x-ray diffraction, while the averaging nature of other analysis techniques generates only a mean value of possible protein conformations.
In contrast, Protein Tomography has already been used to study the flexibility of individual IgG molecules with tomograms, demonstrating the different conformations the antibody molecule can take depending on the spatial relation between the two Fab domains and the Fab-Fc domains.
Sidec was founded in 2000 as a Karolinska Institute spin-out, but it has only been since 2003 that the company has focused its business on leveraging Protein Tomography for biotech and pharma applications. Over the last year, particularly, we have really listened to what the industry wants from the technology, so we can maximize its commercial and research potential, Johansson points out. As a result, requests for collaborative projects and contract research have increased by almost 700%.
Since 2003, in-house research at Sidec has focused on industrializing the software tools used for data processing and analysis in terms of speed, automation, and user friendliness. The company also has an extensive research program for improving the resolution in tomograms.
In the near future Sidec hopes to have created a wide acceptance of the technology as a key tool within translational medicine, Johansson concludes. And looking further ahead, we anticipate that Protein Tomography will be used to improve the success rate for a majority of drug discovery projects through better understanding of disease and drug mechanisms at the molecular level.