In this structural model for a beta-lactamase protein, catalytic residues are shown as spheres with those that are consistently highly frustrated along the entire beta-lactamase family shown in red and those for which the frustrated state is not conserved in yellow. The new work by scientists at Rice University, the University of Buenos Aires and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory suggests these enzymes, which must remain exposed to react with their targets, get a measure of protection from the somewhat-frustrated amino acids around them. The green lines represent minimal frustration, the red lines represent high frustration. The linear charts at top and bottom show the positions of the relevant amino acids on the protein chain and a measure of the conservation of energy over the entire beta-lactamases protein family. (Credit: Illustration by Maria Feiberger/University of Buenos Aires)

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