Human blood relies on a protein called transferrin to safely transport iron through the bloodstream to points were it can be usefully and safely used in the body. In most other circumstances exposed iron contains many dangers for human cells. When deposited in such a state in the brain it can play a role in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s
Transferrin takes up iron out of bloodstream and transports it by a method that combines it with carbonate to bind to two sites on the surface of the transferrin protein. It then curls around the iron and seals it in, almost like a Venus flytrap plant, to prevent it from interacting with anything else until it reaches where it is needed and can safely be used.
The research team led by Professor Peter Sadler from the University of Warwick, and Professor Sandeep Verma from the Indian Institute of Technology, found that if they took transferrin and left it to dry out on a surface, molecules of the safe transporter of iron assembled themselves into tendril - or worm-like fibrils. Even more interestingly the iron that was once safely wrapped up inside the transferrin now appeared to be settling along the length of these fibrils plating them in a series of spots or bands along the length of the tendril shape. This leaves the iron dangerously exposed and available to interact in ways that could cause cell damage.
Deposits of iron exposed in this way and found in the brain are a possible cause of some forms of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases. Until now there has been no real idea as to how iron becomes deposited there in such a dangerous way.
As it is essential for the brain to have iron safely delivered to it, this observation could provide the first real clue as to how that iron comes to be deposited there in such a dangerous way. The research chemists who led this study hope that neurology researchers will be able to build on this work to gain more understanding of how these forms of Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s occur and how they can be countered.
Peter Sadler | EurekAlert!
Synthetic nanoparticles achieve the complexity of protein molecules
24.01.2017 | Carnegie Mellon University
Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
24.01.2017 | Universität Basel
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy