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Discovered A New Protein Complex That Plays An Important Role In Organ Formation, Cellular Development And Cicatrisation Process

Cellular movements are essential in organ formation processes, in cellular development and cicatrisation processes. These processes are directed and orchestrated by the formation of specific protein complexes translating information coming from cellular contacts.

In a study carried out by a group of Spanish and German scientists a new protein complex that plays an important role in the orchestration of the above-mentioned processes has been discovered. This complex demonstrates the existence of a new control mechanism in the cellular movements involved in the early development (gastrulation).

As an innovative feature, this study, that will be published next Friday, 19th January, at the prestigious scientific journal Science, has used the computer design “in silico” to direct the experimental work, developed by the research group of the Spanish scientist Luis Serrano. This has allowed avoiding the tedious lab trials that, in many cases, don’t lead anywhere and/or are redundant. Particularly, the use of protein design software and structural information has allowed sifting the genome of the vinegar fly (Drosophila) and predicting the interaction of two proteins (T48 y RhoGEF2).

The use of protein design software to predict the protein-protein or protein-DNA interaction opens de door to discovering other protein-protein interactions and, the most important aspect for human health, predicting the functional effect of variations in the human genome with implications in the customized medicine.

As for the identification of a new regulation pathway of the gastrulation process in the development of the vinegar fly, it will allow to look for similar mechanisms in human individuals that might be involved in embryonic malformations related to cellular migratory processes.

The study has been directed by Maria Leptin, from the University of Cologne, in Germany. The design and prediction aspects have been developed by the Spanish scientists Luis Serrano, who has just left the leadership of the Structural and Computational Biology programme at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) to lead the Systems Biology programme at the Centre for Genomic Regulation, in Barcelona, and Gregorio Fernández, from the Cellular and Molecular Biology Institute, of the University Miguel Hernández, in Elche.

Gloria Lligadas | alfa
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