In this month’s Genome Biology, Mitch Kostich and colleagues from the Schering-Plough Research Institute (NJ, USA) have identified and mapped an important group of molecules known as protein kinases. These molecules are central to the communication of information both within and between cells, in a process known as cell signaling. Defective protein kinases are associated with hundreds of human diseases, including some types of cancer, and it is hoped that this map, which shows the relationships between 510 human protein kinases, will help researchers find new drugs that can specifically target diseases caused by a defective protein kinase, as well as unlocking the secrets of 60 previously unidentified members of this family.
If our bodies are to work properly, it is important that cells are doing the right thing at the right time. To get things right, the human body has evolved complex signaling pathways that allow our molecules to communicate with each other. Protein kinases are a central part of many signaling pathways, helping to regulate virtually every function in human cells. They belong to a class of biological molecules known as enzymes, which help all the chemical reactions in our bodies to go according to plan. All protein kinases carry out the same function: they transfer a cluster of atoms, known as a phosphoryl group between different molecules. The movement of a phosphoryl group is similar to the flick of a switch that causes a biochemical pathway go slower or faster.
Kostich and his colleagues searched the publicly available sequence databases to find sequences with similarity to known protein kinase molecules. After removals of duplicates and pseudogenes (genes that are not used), they found 510 sequences that were similar to known protein kinases, of which 60 were previously unidentified. Confident that all 510 sequences coded for protein kinases, they constructed a tree-like diagram known as a phenogram, which maps the relationship between different protein kinases based on the differences in their sequence. This phenogram shows that there are five distinct protein kinase families, a result that is consistent with classification systems based on the functions of different protein kinases.
Gordon Fletcher | BioMed Central
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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