Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Virginia Tech engineer investigates enzyme link to neurological disease

01.09.2005


Several neurologically based afflictions, such as Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer diseases, have been correlated to a higher than normal presence of a specific type of enzymes, called transglutaminases (TGase) in the human body. TGases, whose function is to catalyze covalent bonds among proteins, are commonly found in several different human tissues.



In the presence of unusually high levels of these enzymes, some proteins tend to form denser clusters than normal in vivo. If the aggregates grow in size, it can lead to a build-up of insoluble plaques that can block neurovascular transport and cause neural cell death.

"If higher TGase concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid and in the brain lead to protein agglomeration, then their inhibition could reduce symptoms, delay the onset of agglomeration, and maintain viable neural cell health extending the quality of life for those afflicted," hypothesizes Brian Love, a professor of materials science and engineering (MSE) at Virginia Tech.


Love, who focuses his research on tissue and cell engineering, and Elena Fernandez Burguera, a post-doctoral research associate, are evaluating specific therapies to fight the abnormally high TGase binding. Based upon the prior work of several others who are conducting clinical trials, Love and Burguera are developing an in vitro model to evaluate the ability of several inhibitors to block protein aggregation by TGases.

Again, based on the work of other scientists, "several compounds show some positive effects," Love says. These include creatine, cystamine hydrochloride, and a few others. "The development of an inhibition protocol may help test the efficacy of other inhibitors as well," the engineer adds.

The Virginia Tech researchers are looking at the enzymatic binding of protein-bound polystyrene particles as models. Groups of particles are dispersed in calcium-rich aqueous solutions containing TGases. Once mixed, the particle binding begins. The bigger agglomerates attempt to settle out of the solution, and Love and Burguera track particle sedimentation.

The tracking method, called Z-axis Translating Laser Light Scattering (ZATLLS), is unique to Virginia Tech and based on key concepts in transport phenomena. It has been used to gauge how other complex fluids, such as paints and sealants, are dispersed. Now Love and Burguera are resolving when protein coated particles are effectively dispersed in vitro and under what conditions they are unstable enough to agglomerate.

They track in situ sedimentation of protein-coated particles exposed to transglutaminase, both in the presence of and without transglutaminase inhibitors. "We can use ZATLLS to resolve whether inhibitors prevent agglomeration of protein coated particles by TGase if the inhibitors lower the particle sedimentation velocity," Love says. "Our goal is to find the safest and most effective inhibitors that prevent the agglomeration-based crosslinking found throughout these neurological disorders."

Lynn Nystrom | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vt.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization
06.12.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Simple processing technique could cut cost of organic PV and wearable electronics

06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

3-D printed kidney phantoms aid nuclear medicine dosing calibration

06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision

06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>