Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Channeling into cell control

23.01.2012
A new model of intracellular signaling via calcium ions will assist in understanding the effects of calcium fluctuations

A research team from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Wako has visualized and accurately modeled the molecular changes that open and close the internal membrane channels for calcium ions within cells1. The ions moving through these channels act as intracellular messengers, relaying information that regulates the activity of the proteins that control many critical processes of life and death—from fertilization through to development, metabolism and, ultimately, death.


Figure 1: A cell emitting fluorescent signals as a result of attaching specialized proteins to two of its channel-forming IP3Rs (scale bar, 10 µm). Copyright : PNAS

Previous work by the team showed that inositol trisphosphate (IP3) and calcium ions are involved in regulating channel opening and closing. The channels are formed from complexes of four IP3 receptors (IP3R) that bind IP3 and calcium. At low concentrations of calcium ions, channel opening is stimulated; but at higher levels, it is inhibited. Although cell biologists have proposed models depicting this process, they had failed to collect any definitive evidence supporting a particular the mechanism, until now.

In live cells, Takayuki Michikawa, Katsuhiko Mikoshiba and their colleagues attached fluorescent proteins to two of the channel-forming IP3Rs because these receptors change shape in response to the binding of IP3 and calcium, and energy flows between this pair of proteins in a process known as Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) (Fig. 1). In a detectable way, FRET changes the fluorescent light emitted, so the impact of such links on the conformation of the channel can be studied.

The researchers found there were at least five binding sites on each IP3R, one for IP3 and at least four for calcium. Binding IP3 tended to bring the receptors forming the channel closer together, while calcium tended to make them relax. But the effects of combining the two were not simply additive. At a constant level of IP3, they observed an optimum concentration of calcium that had the most impact on opening the channel.

From these results, the researchers proposed a model whereby IP3 and calcium ions compete with one another—the binding of IP3 prevents calcium linking to certain sites, and vice versa. High concentrations of calcium prevent IP3 from binding at all. Further, the researchers proposed two different types of calcium binding sites: low-affinity sites responsible for channel activation, and high-affinity sites for inactivation.

“During the past five years, we have succeeded in visualizing IP3 dynamics and calcium pump activity,” Michikawa and Mikoshiba say. “In combination with the model for the calcium release channel described in this study, we are now ready to understand what happens in living cells during calcium ion oscillations.”

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Laboratory for Developmental Neurobiology, RIKEN Brain Science Institute

gro-pr | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.riken.jp
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells
22.08.2017 | National University Health System

nachricht Biochemical 'fingerprints' reveal diabetes progression
22.08.2017 | Umea University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>