Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Structure of important neurotransmitter regulator determined

04.02.2008
Researchers from Virginia Tech and the Brookhaven National Laboratory have solved the structure of an enzyme that is critical in the regulation of the neurotransmitter system in the human brain.

The enzyme is human kynurenine aminotransferase II (KAT II), which regulates the activity of the neurotransmitter system that is activated by glutamate, the most common neurotransmitter in the brain.

Qian Han, a research scientists in biochemistry at Virginia Tech; Howard Robinson, a biologist at Brookhaven; and Jianyong Li, associate professor of biochemistry at Virginia Tech, report their findings in the article, “Crystal structure of human kynurenine aminotransferase II,” in the Feb. 8 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry (www.jbc.org/).

Li, who is corresponding author, explained that learning and memory depend upon glutamate; however, over stimulation will lead to neuron death and is one cause of such neurodegenerative diseases Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

... more about:
»KAT »Neurotransmitter »glutamate »structure

“The product of KAT II is kynurenic acid (KA) that is a noncompeting binder of the glutamate receptors. Its binding to the glutamate receptors reduces stimulation. So it (KA) has a regulatory effect,” Li said. “It is considered protective – although too much is also a problem,” he said.

Before scientists can target KAT II as a treatment, they have to know how it works. Part of the challenge was solved when the DNA sequence of KAT II was determined, but knowing the code is not enough. How proteins pass their critical messages also depends upon their shape. Imagine proteins as curls of ribbons with each unique fold as important to the messages they convey as the sequences of letters in their genetic code.

Han, Robinson, and Li succeeded in determining both the unbound protein and its complex three-dimensional structures of KAT II. The structure in complex with kynurenine reveals the almost ephemeral linkages of the KAT II enzyme with its substrate.

“Now we know what it looks like, we can determine how it works and do research into how to manipulate the protein,” Li said. “We have provided a molecular basis for biochemical regulation of this critical regulator.”

The article reports on Han’s research to crystallize KAT II in combination with a substrate. Robinson used a synchrotron to create X-ray diffraction patterns to reveal atomic and molecular associations within the crystal, which allowed Han and Li to do phase determination and an iterative process of model building and refinement and eventually describe the structure.

Susan Trulove | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vt.edu

Further reports about: KAT Neurotransmitter glutamate structure

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement
26.06.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

nachricht New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
26.06.2017 | Aarhus 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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>