Copper is an essential part of our lives. From copper pipes and wires - to important copper-containing proteins in the body, copper is necessary for healthy growth and neurological development. Researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University are studying how copper is processed in our bodies and its distinct role in early development.
Their findings, published in a recent edition of the journal Cell Metabolism, identify a new role for two proteins involved with copper regulation. This study may lead to a better understanding of how to treat individuals affected by copper imbalances.
"Copper is important in maintaining healthy cells. When copper is not properly regulated in the body it can lead to diseases of the liver, kidneys, brains and eyes," says Dr. Eric Shoubridge, a professor of Human Genetics at the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University and lead investigator. "We know that copper is especially important in early development, playing a vital role in the proper formation of organs. Mutations in two copper-carrying proteins, SCO1 and SCO2 have been implicated in a number of neonatal diseases."
Copper is required for the activity of a number of enzymes including cytochrome c oxidase (COX) in the mitochondria -the energy suppliers of the body. "Our study is the first to characterize an unexpected cell-signaling or messenger role for the two copper-carrying proteins, SCO1 and SCO2, which are necessary for the assembly of COX," says Shoubridge.
To characterize the roles of SCO1 and SCO2, Shoubridge and colleagues looked at cells that contained mutated forms of either one or both of these molecules. The study shows that both proteins have a role in maintaining the balance of copper between different cellular compartments. "These findings add two members to a growing list of bi-functional proteins that participate in copper metabolism." adds Shoubridge. "Identifying this new role for SCO1 and SCO2 is significant in developing better therapies for several neurological diseases.
Anita Kar | EurekAlert!
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy