Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protein structure key for AIDS, cell function

20.09.2005


Cornell University researchers have discovered the 3-D crystal structure of a protein, human CD38, which may lead to important discoveries about how cells release calcium -- a mineral used in almost every cellular process. The findings also may offer insights into mechanisms involved in certain diseases, ranging from leukemia to diabetes and HIV-AIDS.


Qun Liu and Quan Hao. Copyright Elsevier Ltd.
This artistic rendering of the molecular structure of human CD38 appears on the cover of this month’s issue of the journal Structure. Copyright © Cornell University



Levels of the protein climb, for reasons unknown, when people fall ill, making human CD38 a marker for these diseases.

As one example, researchers have shown that CD38 interrupts an interaction between the AIDS virus and its point of entry into cells -- a protein receptor called CD4. By looking at CD38’s 3-D structure, the Cornell researchers identified a peptide, an organic compound composed of amino acids, that they believe may play a role in interrupting the interface between CD4 and HIV-AIDS.


The findings, published in the journal Structure (Vol. 13, Sept. 2005), mark a major step toward designing drugs that could inhibit processes related to certain diseases. Knowing the protein’s structure also opens the door to understanding CD38’s many functions related to key biological processes about which researchers know very little.

"For example, the mechanism of how a cell mediates calcium release is largely unknown," said the paper’s senior author, Quan Hao, director of the Macromolecular Diffraction Facility (MacCHESS), the biomedical research arm of the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS). "So this is a very fundamental question for biologists."

It turns out that CD38 helps produce at least two calcium messenger molecules, each of which then opens channels for the release of calcium from specific stores, or reservoirs, within cell organelles.

High intensity X-rays made it possible to pass photons through a protein crystal to reveal its structure. Cornell’s synchrotron produces beams of X-rays millions of times more intense than conventional X-ray generators allow. The very intense beams were necessary to determine the atomic structure of CD38. The research group, which includes researchers from the University of Minnesota, also developed new calculations that allowed them to extract the protein’s entire structure from the X-ray images.

By revealing CD38’s detailed structure, scientists can now begin to examine how the protein’s form influences its molecular functions.

"People have been struggling with this for a long time, and we have finally solved it," said Hao.

The National Institutes of Health, which supports MacCHESS, also funded this research. The paper’s other lead authors include MacCHESS graduate student Qun Liu and researcher support specialist Irina Kriksunov.

Joe Schwartz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cornell.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water world
20.11.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis

nachricht Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity
20.11.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Antarctic landscape insights keep ice loss forecasts on the radar

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Filling the gap: High-latitude volcanic eruptions also have global impact

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Water world

20.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>