Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A new cellular garbage control pathway with relevance for human neurodegenerative diseases

18.07.2014

Several human neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease but also ageing, are linked to an accumulation of abnormal and aggregated proteins in cells.

Cellular “garbage” can be removed from cells by sweeping them to a cellular recycling station known as the lysosome. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany, now discovered a new family of helper proteins that recognize labeled cellular protein waste and guide them efficiently to the lysosome for destruction and subsequent recycling into their reusable compounds.


The newly identified proteins, termed CUET proteins (shown in red), recognize toxic protein aggregates and target the whole complex to the cellular waste disposal and recycling station, the lysosome.

Illustration: Stefan Jentsch / Copyright: MPI of Biochemistry

Proteins, the components of our body that execute, control and organize basically all functions in our cells, are made out of strings of amino acids, which – like an origami - are folded into specific and complex three-dimensional structures according to their desired functions.

However, since folding and maintaining of such structures is highly sensitive to cellular or environmental stress, proteins can potentially misfold or form clumps (aggregates). Such undesired protein waste can be toxic for cells and may even lead to cell death. Because several human neurodegenerative diseases are known to be linked to an accumulation of abnormal protein aggregates, basic science aimed to understand how cells remove cellular garbage is elementary for designing strategies for a potential prevention or cure of such disorders.

Scientists in the laboratory of Stefan Jentsch at the MPIB now successfully used baker’s yeast for screening for new cellular waste disposal pathways. Kefeng Lu, a postdoctoral researcher from China, discovered a new class of helper proteins (termed CUET proteins) present both in yeast and humans that recognize cellular garbage earmarked for disposal by an attached label in the form of the ubiquitously existing protein known as “ubiquitin”.

Importantly, these newly identified helper proteins channel the cellular garbage by a “self-eating” pathway (autophagy) to the lysosome, a compartment of cells dedicated for destruction and recycling. The Max Planck scientists could also show that a toxic protein related to the abnormal, aggregate-forming protein “huntingtin” of patients with the neurodegenerative Huntington’s disease is efficiently destroyed by the newly identified pathway. Remarkably, this pathway seems specific for aggregated proteins like huntingtin and appears to be more potent than previously discovered cellular garbage disposal mechanisms.

Because the identified cellular disposal mechanism operates in yeast as well, the researches will now take full advantage of its powerful experimental possibilities to investigate this pathway further.

A detailed analysis of this mechanism will be crucial to understand how aggregate-forming proteins lead to human diseases and may help to develop concepts for possible disease preventions.

Original Publication:
K. Lu, I. Psakhye and S. Jentsch: Autophagic clearance of polyQ proteins mediated by the conserved CUET protein family. Cell, July 17, 2014.
DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.05.048

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Stefan Jentsch
Molecular Cell Biology
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
Germany
E-Mail: jentsch@biochem.mpg.de
http://www.biochem.mpg.de/jentsch

Anja Konschak
Public Relations
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
Germany
Tel. +49 89 8578-2824
E-Mail: konschak@biochem.mpg.de
http://www.biochem.mpg.de/news

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.biochem.mpg.de/jentsch - Website of the Research Departement "Molecular Cell Biology" (Stefan Jentsch)
http://www.biochem.mpg.de/news/ueber_das_institut/forschungsbereiche/zellbiologi... - More press releases about the research of Stefan Jentsch

Anja Konschak | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Molecular Spies to Fight Cancer - Procedure for improving tumor diagnosis successfully tested
03.08.2015 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf

nachricht Stroke: news about platelets
03.08.2015 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Glaciers melt faster than ever

Glacier decline in the first decade of the 21st century has reached a historical record, since the onset of direct observations. Glacier melt is a global phenomenon and will continue even without further climate change. This is shown in the latest study by the World Glacier Monitoring Service under the lead of the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

The World Glacier Monitoring Service, domiciled at the University of Zurich, has compiled worldwide data on glacier changes for more than 120 years. Together...

Im Focus: Quantum Matter Stuck in Unrest

Using ultracold atoms trapped in light crystals, scientists from the MPQ, LMU, and the Weizmann Institute observe a novel state of matter that never thermalizes.

What happens if one mixes cold and hot water? After some initial dynamics, one is left with lukewarm water—the system has thermalized to a new thermal...

Im Focus: On the crest of the wave: Electronics on a time scale shorter than a cycle of light

Physicists from Regensburg and Marburg, Germany have succeeded in taking a slow-motion movie of speeding electrons in a solid driven by a strong light wave. In the process, they have unraveled a novel quantum phenomenon, which will be reported in the forthcoming edition of Nature.

The advent of ever faster electronics featuring clock rates up to the multiple-gigahertz range has revolutionized our day-to-day life. Researchers and...

Im Focus: Superfast fluorescence sets new speed record

Plasmonic device has speed and efficiency to serve optical computers

Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing.

Im Focus: Unlocking the rice immune system

Joint BioEnergy Institute study identifies bacterial protein that is key to protecting rice against bacterial blight

A bacterial signal that when recognized by rice plants enables the plants to resist a devastating blight disease has been identified by a multi-national team...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Euro Bio-inspired - International Conference and Exhibition on Bio-inspired Materials

23.07.2015 | Event News

Clash of Realities – International Conference on the Art, Technology and Theory of Digital Games

10.07.2015 | Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine in Leipzig: Last chance to submit abstracts until 2 July

25.06.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Reliable and extremely long-lasting – high-voltage power electronics for network expansion

04.08.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Riding a horse is far more complex than riding simulators

04.08.2015 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

CO2 removal cannot save the oceans – if we pursue business as usual

04.08.2015 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>