Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Brandeis University researchers illuminate key structure in heart cells

05.03.2014

After a decade of debate, scientists have a clear picture of a controversial protein that helps regulate heart contractions

Brandeis University researchers have unlocked a controversial structure in heart cells responsible for regulating heart contractions.

E1 Protein on Cell Surface

This is an E1 protein, on the surface of a mammalian cell, illuminated with a teal fluorescent protein and viewed through a laser mounted total internal reflection microscope.

Credit: Leigh Plant

For years, scientists have debated how many KCNE1 proteins are required to build a potassium ion channel, theorizing anywhere between one and 14. Now, Brandeis University researchers found that these channels are built with two E1s. Understanding the construction of this channel is key to understanding life-threatening heart conditions, such as arrhythmias, and developing drugs to threat those conditions.

This report challenges a previous study — the findings of which are currently being used in million dollar drug development trials — that anywhere between one and four E1s are required per channel. Brandeis researchers hope their new findings may help create more effective models to study heart conditions and their treatment.

Leigh Plant, assistant research professor of biochemistry, along with postdoctoral fellows Dazhi Xiong, Hui Dai and provost and professor of biochemistry Steve Goldstein, published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, March 3.

A single heartbeat is the slow expanding and contracting of the heart muscle. It is controlled, in part, by a series of channels on the surface of heart cells that regulate the movement of different ions into and out of the cells. The potassium ion channel is critical to ending each heart contraction and is made up of the proteins Q1 and E1. Q1s create the pore that the potassium flows through and the E1s control how slowly that pore opens and closes, how many channels are on the cell surface of each cell and how they are regulated by drugs.

Goldstein's team observed E1 in live, mammalian cells at remarkable sensitivity, counting the proteins in individual channels, something that had never been done before in this area of research. Because this mechanism has been so widely debated, Goldstein and his team used three different means to count E1 — including tagging them with different fluorescent colors and using a scorpion toxin to bind to Q1. Each time, the team got the same results.

While there is always room for debate in science, Goldstein and his team said they hope these findings will give researchers a quintessential key to unlocking the intricacies of the heartbeat.

###

This research was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Leah Burrows | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.brandeis.edu

Further reports about: Goldstein drugs illuminate potassium proteins remarkable sensitivity structure

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Pathogenic bacteria hitchhiking to North and Baltic Seas?
22.07.2016 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht Unconventional quasiparticles predicted in conventional crystals
22.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Newly discovered material property may lead to high temp superconductivity

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Ames Laboratory have discovered an unusual property of purple bronze that may point to new ways to achieve high temperature superconductivity.

While studying purple bronze, a molybdenum oxide, researchers discovered an unconventional charge density wave on its surface.

Im Focus: Mapping electromagnetic waveforms

Munich Physicists have developed a novel electron microscope that can visualize electromagnetic fields oscillating at frequencies of billions of cycles per second.

Temporally varying electromagnetic fields are the driving force behind the whole of electronics. Their polarities can change at mind-bogglingly fast rates, and...

Im Focus: Continental tug-of-war - until the rope snaps

Breakup of continents with two speed: Continents initially stretch very slowly along the future splitting zone, but then move apart very quickly before the onset of rupture. The final speed can be up to 20 times faster than in the first, slow extension phase.phases

Present-day continents were shaped hundreds of millions of years ago as the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart. Derived from Pangaea’s main fragments Gondwana...

Im Focus: A Peek into the “Birthing Room” of Ribosomes

Scaffolding and specialised workers help with the delivery – Heidelberg biochemists gain new insights into biogenesis

A type of scaffolding on which specialised workers ply their trade helps in the manufacturing process of the two subunits from which the ribosome – the protein...

Im Focus: New protocol enables analysis of metabolic products from fixed tissues

Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have developed a new mass spectrometry imaging method which, for the first time, makes it possible to analyze hundreds of metabolites in fixed tissue samples. Their findings, published in the journal Nature Protocols, explain the new access to metabolic information, which will offer previously unexploited potential for tissue-based research and molecular diagnostics.

In biomedical research, working with tissue samples is indispensable because it permits insights into the biological reality of patients, for example, in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

GROWING IN CITIES - Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Gardening

15.07.2016 | Event News

SIGGRAPH2016 Computer Graphics Interactive Techniques, 24-28 July, Anaheim, California

15.07.2016 | Event News

Partner countries of FAIR accelerator meet in Darmstadt and approve developments

11.07.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

The Exception and its Rules

25.07.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Using Ultrashort Pulsed Laser Radiation to Process Fibre-Reinforced Components

25.07.2016 | Materials Sciences

Added bacterial film makes new mortar resistant to water uptake

25.07.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>