Research on a Membrane Protein
by Chinese Academy of Sciences Published in Nature
On March 18th 2004, the journal, Nature, published
an article entitled "Crystal structure of spinach major light-harvesting
complex at 2.72 ? resolution". The article reported a research accomplished
by the Institute of Biophysics of Chinese Academy of Sciences in collaboration
with the Institute of Botany of Chinese Academy of Sciences. A color figure
of the crystal structure was selected as a cover picture of this issue
Researches on the mechanism of photosynthesis
are always longstanding projects in the world. LHC-II is the most abundant
major light-harvesting complex in green plants. It is a complex molecular
system composed of proteins, chlorophyll molecules, carotenoid molecules
and lipids. The complexes are originally integral parts of biological
membranes. It is extremely difficult to isolate and crystallize such a
highly hydrophobic complex.
The research team, led by the Principle Investigator
and Professor Wenrui Chang from the Institute of Biophysics of Chinese
Academy of Science, worked extremely hard for six years on this project
showing their utmost fortitudes. They finally succeeded in determining
the three-dimensional structure of this important complex just recently.
The group from the Institute of Botany of Chinese Academy of Sciences,
led by Prof. Tingyun Kuang, CAS member, isolated and purified this important
photosynthetic membrane protein (LHC-II) after years of hard work. This
is a great achievement made by uniting the sciences of biochemistry, X-ray
crystallography and structural biology. They took the lead in making a
breakthrough in this highly challenging and pioneering research field
of the world, advancing Chinese researches on photosynthetic mechanism
and 3-D membrane protein structure to a higher level.
Shanghai Institute of Materia
Medica: Researchers of Qinghaosu Research Group Honored with Prince Mahidol
Chinese researchers have been bestowed the
2003 Prince Mahidol Award in medicine for their contributions to the development
of an antimalarial medicine Qinghaosu and its derivatives. His Majesty
King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand conferred the awards on January 29,
2004 at the Chakri Throne Hall in Bangkok. The Prince Mahidol Award Foundation
under Royal Patronage of the King of Thailand was established on January
1, 1992. This is second time for Chinese researcher to win the award.
Professor Ying Li of Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica attended the
ceremony and gave a lecture entitled "Study of Qinghaosu and its
Derivatives in China" on behalf of the China Cooperative Research
Group on Qinghaosu and its Derivatives as Antimalarials before the ceremony.
Qinghaosu drugs, a new type of antimalarial
for treatment of drug-resistant and drug-sensitive malaria, come from
extensive and cooperative research of many Institutes and scientific researchers
throughout China between 1970s-1980s. This invention has been universally
acknowledged as an outstanding medicinal achievement. Qinghaosu, an antimalarial
principle of Artemisia annua L. possessed fast action, low toxicity and
high activity. However, there was a great demand for improvement on its
poor solubility and high recrudescence rate. Artemether, an oil-soluble
Qinghaosu derivative, was elaborated by the Qinghaosu research group of
Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica. It is 6 times as active as Qinghaosu
and it can decrease its recrudescence rate from 48% to 7%. Its oil solution
formulation makes it easy to rescue the severe malaria patients.
Along with the widely usage of Qinghaosu drugs,
over 10 millions of malaria patients worldwide have been saved. Qinghaosu
and its derivatives have become the most important drugs for malaria control
in the developing tropical countries.
China and UK to Cooperate in
Building Wildlife Germplasm Bank
Zhu Chen, Vice President of the Chinese Academy
of Sciences met a group of British visitors on March 3 headed by Peter
Grane, Member of the British Royal Society and Director of the Royal Arboretum,
the Kew Garden. The two sides deliberated on the Agreement for long-term
science and technology cooperation on the Project for Building the Southwest
China Wildlife Germplasm Bank, a key National Science Project undertaken
by Kunming Institute of Botany, in cooperation with the Millennium Seek
Bank, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a consensus was reached in this
Key Ingredients Triggering Biological
Activities in TCM Found
Dr. Liu Jikai from Kunming Institute of Botany,
Chinese Academy of Sciences, together with his cooperator Dr. T. Honkel
from Bayer Pharma Research Center in Wuppertal, Germany, reported the
research results about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recently. In
order to ascertain what individual constituents are responsible for the
bioactive properties, they extract the common characters of composition
of huge formula to provide a scientific explanation for their modes of
action. They consider polyphenols and saponins as the key infredients
in TCM remedies responsible for most of the observed biological effects,
reflecting the specific requirements within the TCM philosophy of treatment
based on the investigation of its chemical composition.
Professor Qi Zhou Won the 3rd
GenOway Prize for Transgenic Technologies
Prof. Qi Zhou, a researcher at the CAS Institute
of Zoology, was awarded the 2004 genOway Prize for Transgenic Technologies
at the 5th Trans-Tech-Meeting held from March 14 to 16 at Uppsala, Sweden.
The prize has been established to recognize
scientist who has made outstanding achievement in transgenic research.
The previous prize was awarded to Dr. K.J. McCreath, PPL Therapeutics,
Roslin, Edinburgh, UK. Dr. McCreath's work has contributed to the production
of gene-targeted sheep by nuclear transfer from cultured somatic cells.
Progress in Basic Research of
Using ultra-high resolution scanning
electron microscope (SEM, Hitachi S-5200), the research group led by Prof.
Xiyun Yan (Institute of Biophysics, CAS) revealed the three-dimensional
surface ultrastructure of SARS-CoV virus, together with Prof. Sishen Xie
(Institute of Physics, CAS) and Prof. Wuchun Cao (Military Academy of
CAS Academic Divisions Held
Symposium on Intensifying China's Basic Research
The Academic Divisions of CAS invited some
of the Beijing-based CAS member for a symposium on "Further Intensifying
China's Basic Research" in Beijing on the afternoon of 26 February.
The CAS members conducted in-depth discussions on how to improve and upgrade
China's basic research level for higher competence in serving China's
socioeconomic development. Present at the meeting include CAS members
Zizhao Gan, Yue Wang, Chongyu Wang, Kui Wang, Zhemin Zheng, Shupeng Chen,
Guanxian Xu, Fuyu Yang, Zhensheng Li, Le Yang and Lei Guo.
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