This enzyme can appear even when the cancer has not yet developed and lesions are precancerous. Thus this molecule would serve as a good marker in the diagnosis and prognosis of the disease. Moreover, its activity could play a relevant role in the development of lung cancer, which makes the research of great interest for potential future therapeutical applications as well.
According to researchers, both the experiments using test tubes and cell cultures revealed that the enzyme lowers the levels of the most active form of vitamin A (retinoic acid), a strong anticancerous agent. This is achieved by its strong retinal reductase activity, which favours chemical reduction transformation, thus causing retinal, the precursor of retinoic acid, to transform into its least active form, retinol.
Retinoic acid is present in several biological processes - from fetus development to cell proliferation and differentiation - by controlling the expression of certain genes. The reduction of this acid within cells, which is precisely the effect produced by the enzyme under study, is linked directly to the lack of cell differentiation and therefore favours the development of the cancer. In order to discover why the enzyme acts this way, scientists obtained and studied its three-dimensional structure and located the elements responsible for its role in the onset of cancer among smokers. The identification of these structural elements makes it possible to create a specific design for drugs that can treat this disease. In fact, researchers were able to observe how the substance tolrestat, used as an inhibitor of the enzyme AKR1B1, or aldose reductase, responsible for many secondary complications of diabetes, also worked to inhibit the activity of the enzyme AKR1B10. Since both enzymes contain similar structures, research was carried out on its possible applications in the treatment of diabetes.
Octavi López Coronado | alfa
Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy