Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mount Sinai researchers discover new mechanism behind cellular energy conversion

19.08.2010
Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have enhanced our understanding of the mechanism by which cells achieve energy conversion, the process in which food is converted into the energy required by cells. This groundbreaking research helps scientists gain atomic-level insight into how organisms synthesize their major form of chemical energy. The researchers' findings were published in the August issue of PLoS Biology.

Cells use the enzyme ATP synthase to generate a chemical called ATP, the form of energy cells use to function. Structurally, ATP synthase is a nano-machine, a cellular "motor" that consists of proton turbines, or rotor rings, with the output being ATP. The investigators wanted to find out more about how these ATP synthase rotors work.

David Hicks, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology & Systems Therapeutics and Terry Krulwich, PhD, Sharon & Frederick A. Klingenstein-Nathan G. Kase, MD Professor of Pharmacology & Systems Therapeutics, led the Mount Sinai-based part of the effort. They and their co-investigators, Thomas Meier, PhD, and two members of his research team at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics in Germany, grew three-dimensional protein crystals of an unusually stable rotor found in bacteria called Bacillus pseudofirmus and evaluated them using X-ray technology.

The researchers were surprised to find that these ATP synthase rotor rings use a water molecule as part of the rotary mechanism of ATP synthesis, providing a clearer understanding of how these nano-machines function. Previous studies of a rotor from a blue-green alga, the only other proton-moving rotor observed at this atomic level, showed that it did not use a water molecule.

With this new insight, they were able to infer how ATP synthase captures the protons that drive the rotation of the "motor" and visualize how those protons remain bound to the rotor. This discovery has added interest because the rotor structure of these bacteria is similar in some ways to the motors driving ATP synthesis in human cells and pathogens like the tuberculosis bacteria.

"We are excited about the broad implications of these data in helping us move toward a more detailed model of the mechanisms of action behind cellular energy conversion," said Dr. Krulwich. "These findings provide a launching pad for better understanding a basic life process in organisms ranging from bacteria to humans. We look forward to studying this development further."

Drs. Hicks and Krulwich and the Meier team will continue studying this finding and plan to further evaluate these cellular nano-machines. Working with this discovery, they will next evaluate mutations or malfunctions in the ATP synthase rotor.

This research is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Studies of the National Institutes of Health.

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Established in 1968, Mount Sinai School of Medicine is one of few medical schools embedded in a hospital in the United States. It has more than 3,400 faculty in 32 departments and 15 institutes, and ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institute of Health funding and by U.S. News & World Report. The school received the 2009 Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The Mount Sinai Hospital, founded in 1852, is a 1,171-bed tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility and one of the nation's oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. In 2009, U.S. News & World Report ranked The Mount Sinai Hospital among the nation's top 20 hospitals based on reputation, patient safety, and other patient-care factors. Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients last year, and approximately 530,000 outpatient visits took place.

For more information, visit www.mountsinai.org
Follow us on Twitter @mountsinainyc

Mount Sinai Press Office | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mssm.edu
http://www.mountsinai.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State 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: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>