The team was able to define the way in which proteins called beta arrestins (for their role in stopping signals) also turn on pathways that ultimately lead to the production of new proteins in virtually all tissues in the body.
Because proteins are the building blocks for all cells, this new pathway for the general control of protein manufacturing has opened a new universe for biological studies.
The beta arrestins were discovered two decades ago as the off switches for G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) on the cell surface, which do the job of sending and receiving important signals for cells. This mechanism is the target of about a third of all pharmaceuticals today.
The GPCRs, which were first theorized and discovered at Duke by the study's senior author, Robert J. Lefokowitz, MD, begin a signaling cascade that transmits a message from the cell surface, such as a hormone or neurotransmitter, to the cell's interior and tells it to do something, such as cranking out a particular protein.
These receptors regulate virtually all physiological processes, everything from heart rate to mood. Research on GPCRs has led to numerous successful drugs, including beta blockers which help relieve hypertension, angina and coronary disease, as well as new antihistamines and ulcer drugs. They also formed the basis of Nobel Prize winning work on smell receptors.
"The reason the new work is so exciting to me is that it reminds us, yet again, how the scientific process continuously renews itself, said Lefkowitz, James B. Duke Professor of Medicine and investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "We discovered the beta arrestins almost 20 years ago, and now we find out they play signaling roles we never dreamed of back then. We are hopeful that these new ideas may lead to new types of drugs."
The study's findings, published in this month's Journal of Biological Chemistry, identified an enzyme called Mnk1 which is activated by beta-arrestin signaling. "What's been discovered here is that beta arrestins initiate important cell signals in their own right, and specifically the control over protein synthesis indicates that they may possess wide control of biological functions," said Scott DeWire PhD, lead author and adjunct assistant professor of medicine at Duke University.
"This added layer of complexity provides us opportunities to study receptors in a whole new way, and possibly identify beta-arrestin-specific signaling," DeWire said. "This is something completely unexpected according to the traditional dogma. Ten years ago, nobody would have imagined that beta-arrestins, with their ability to stop the GPCR signals, could exert global control over protein synthesis."
Mary Jane Gore | EurekAlert!
How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH
A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
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...
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...
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...
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...
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)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology