Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Additional Mechanism Regulates Protein Activity


A University of Arkansas researcher and his colleagues have discovered a new mechanism that regulates the interaction of proteins in cell membranes. This discovery may lead to more efficient drug screening and possibly different methods for fighting infections.

Roger Koeppe, University Professor of chemistry and biochemistry, Thomas Suchnya, Frederick Sachs and Phillip Gottlieb of SUNY Buffalo and Sonya Tape and Olaf Andersen of Weil Medical College of Cornell University report their findings in the July 8, 2004, issue of Nature.

Scientists have explained the interaction of antibiotics using a “lock and key,” model, where a small drug of a certain shape (the key) binds to a bacterial protein (the lock) to neutralize it and prevent the spread of an infection.

In the Nature paper, the researchers show that this model is not the only rule in drug-protein interaction. They discovered that the mirror image of a peptide isolated from tarantula venom had the same effect on a certain type of pressure-sensitive cell membrane protein channel as did the natural peptide toxin – a finding that violates the “lock and key” model because the toxin and its mirror image have different shapes.

Further, they found that the mirror images of bacterial gramicidin channels, developed in the Koeppe laboratory at the University of Arkansas, respond much like natural gramicidin channels to both the tarantula toxin and its mirror image

“The effect is similar in different chemical systems,” Koeppe said. The researchers have concluded that, instead of working by the traditional “lock and key” model, the peptide toxin and its mirror image change the shape or curvature of the lipid bilayer, or the protective “skin” of the cell membrane.

This finding opens up a host of new applications, including the possibility of using mirror image proteins for drug therapies. Often, the mirror image peptides or proteins are biologically more stable and, if developed into drugs, could last longer in the body, Koeppe said. Also, the mirror image proteins don’t activate the body’s immune system as effectively, which could have a positive impact on organ transplant acceptance.

The gramicidin channel system also could be used to screen the generalized effects of potential drugs on the mechanical properties of lipid bilayer membranes.

“When a company develops a drug, they usually only want it to affect one thing,” Koeppe said. If a drug alters cell membrane properties globally, then its effects may prove too general, he said.

“If new drugs could be tested on gramicidin channels, it could speed up predictions of what such drugs would do in other systems,” Koeppe said. The cell membrane effects may be desirable or undesirable depending upon the system. “This could help companies find out early if there is a problem instead of investing three years and then finding out.”

| newswise
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Make way for the mini flying machines
21.03.2018 | American Chemical Society

nachricht New 4-D printer could reshape the world we live in
21.03.2018 | American Chemical Society

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

TRAPPIST-1 planets provide clues to the nature of habitable worlds

21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

The search for dark matter widens

21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Natural enemies reduce pesticide use

21.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>