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Prof. Eric Arnoys

Chem 324 - Biochemistry II

Protein of the Year: 2010

At the start of this spring's semester, I surveyed my Biochemistry II classes to determine which proteins were their favorites. Hemoglobin was the overwhelming choice, earning nearly half of all of the votes. Was hemoglobin really that much better than every other protein out there, or had my classes not yet given other proteins a fair chance? I had to find out.

Every week since then we examined a new Protein of the Week. Some were selected for their beauty, some for their utility, and others for their unusual chemistry. As the semester drew to a close, the time came to determine if any of them could compete with hemoglobin.

There were four categories:
(1) the Refrigerator Award (selected in a Facebook poll), for the protein that would look best posted on your refrigerator;
(2) the Scholarship Award (selected in a Facebook poll), for the protein that you would most likely use as an example when your uncle asks you what you're learning in college;
(3) the People's Choice Award, for the favorite protein as selected on Facebook;

and the grand prize,
(4) the Protein of the Year: 2010, for the protein that outlasted nineteen other proteins in a single elimination tournament determined by the Chem/Biol 324 classes this year. Proteins were grouped into four regionals and seeded based on the classroom response from earlier in the semester: Fantastic Folding: IgG, hemolysin, GFP, glutamine synthetase, and TolC; Motors and Machines: kinesin, 70S ribosome, beta propeller, ATP synthase, and mechanosensitive channels; Enzymes of Interest: methylmalonyl-CoA mutase, cyclooxygenase I and II, catalase, nitrogenase, and ribonuclease inhibitor; the Proteins that Bind: leghemoglobin, histones, hemoglobin, DNA-binding proteins, and rhodopsin. Each protein has its own page--follow the links below to learn more.

May 12: Final results

Champion: hemolysin

2nd Place: ribonuclease inhibitor

3rd and 4th Place: ATP synthase and hemoglobin

People's Choice Award: rhodopsin

Scholarship Award: GFP

Refrigerator Award: hemolysin

May 10: Final four results

...and then there were two: hemolysin and ribonuclease inhibitor.

Cast your votes now on KnightVision in the survey under the Protein of the Week tab (sorry--this only applies to current 324 students). Who will take home the coveted title Protein of the Year: 2010 on May 12? Check back here to find out.

Ribonuclease inhibitor soundly defeated pre-season favorite hemoglobin by a score of 25-16. Said one student, "Hemoglobin is so last semester."

In the other semifinal, hemolysin edged out ATP synthase 24-20, as hemolysin's strong first half was too much for ATP synthase to overcome.

May 7: The Final Four is set!

There were no surprises, as all of the number one seeds advanced:

In The Proteins that Bind regional final, preseason favorite hemoglobin sucked the oxygen out of histones squad, winning by a score of 22-17.

Over in the Enzymes of Interest regional final, ribonuclease inhibitor affirmed its number one seeding by giving COX1 and COX2 a healthy dose of aspirin. The score was 25-15

In the Motors and Machines final, the mechanosensitive channels found their bubble burst after they were unable to overcome the osmotic pressure of ATP synthase, which prevailed 27-13.

Finally, the matchup in the Fantastic Folding regional final, which many of us had been anticipating since the brackets were announced, lived up to the hype. Though GFP will earn glowing reviews for its bright performance, hemolysin's cooperative team effort broke the game open in the second half to turn an 8-8 tie into a 22-18 victory.

May 6: Protein of the Week Sweet Sixteen round winners

Here are Thursday's Sweet Sixteen winners: hemolysin, GFP, ATP synthase, mechanosensitive channels, RNAse inhibitor, COX1 & COX2, hemoglobin, and histones

For Friday's Elite Eight regional final:

Fantastic Folding: hemolysin vs. GFP

Motors and Machines: ATP synthase vs. mechanosensitive channels

Enzymes of Interest: ribonuclease inhibitor vs. cyclooxygenase I and cyclooxygenase II

The Proteins that Bind: hemoglobin vs. histones

Wednesday's play-in game winners: TolC, kinesin, catalase, DNA-binding proteins

Proteins of the Week:

More information on each protein is available at the RCSB Protein Data Bank.

*bonus proteins!

(*images provided without commentary)

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