"Cells communicate with each other by releasing chemical signals, like hormones," explained Conn. "These chemical signals are detected and received by structures called 'receptors' which reside in the outer membranes of other cells. Sometimes environmental toxins or radiation can cause mutations in these receptors. When this happens, these mutant receptors make errors — they may activate unexpectedly or fail to activate at all — and this behavior results in disease."
Conn and his colleague Jody Janovick, B.S., R.Ph. a senior research associate discovered that when certain receptors, called G-protein coupled receptors, become "constitutively activated" by mutation, they are naturally detected by a mechanism in the body and targeted for destruction so they cannot cause disease.
"Unfortunately, the mechanism cannot detect all of these faulty receptors, meaning that the system is important, but not perfect," added Conn.
This discovery is important because G-protein coupled receptors are the largest class of drug-development targets used by pharmaceutical companies. This research increases understanding of how these drugs work and will lead to better understanding of basic cell mechanisms that are important for therapeutic development.
The research was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, a component of the National Institutes of Health.
Jim Newman | EurekAlert!
Modern genetic sequencing tools give clearer picture of how corals are related
17.08.2017 | University of Washington
The irresistible fragrance of dying vinegar flies
16.08.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
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,...
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.
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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.
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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...
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...
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