Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cell signaling discovery yields heart disease clues

26.09.2005


Hughes investigator John Scott long studied signal transduction system

A pulsing heart cell is giving Oregon Health & Science University researchers insight into how it sends and receives signals, and that’s providing clues into how heart disease and other disorders develop.

In a study appearing in today’s edition of Nature, John Scott, Ph.D., a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and senior scientist at OHSU’s Vollum Institute, found that heart muscle cells become enlarged when an intricate intracellular signaling pathway regulated by a messenger molecule called muscle-specific A-kinase anchoring proteins, or mAKAPs, is perturbed.



The cells’ growth, known as cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, can lead to congestive heart failure and other forms of cardiovascular disease, which affect more than 70 million Americans and cause about 1.4 million deaths each year.

A cell communicates with another cell by sending over a messenger molecule, typically a hormone, which activates a secondary regulatory messenger molecule – cyclic AMP (cAMP) – within a particular compartment in the recipient cell. This causes cAMP to stimulate an enzyme that triggers the activity of proteins involved in altering a cell’s physiology and governing other biochemical events. According to Scott, mAKAPs tether the enzyme, called protein kinase A (PKA), to particular locations in the cell.

"Hypertrophy is a fairly good laboratory model for certain forms of heart failure, and the PKA signaling pathway is perturbed in certain cases of heart disease," said Scott, whose laboratory was the among the first in the world to track AKAP interaction. "That’s why this study may have a high translational and clinical impact."

According to the study, the mAKAP signaling system has been linked to excessive heart cell enlargement, which increases the potential for heart disease. One technique involves using drugs, such as a growth hormone, to activate a molecule known as ERK5, which suppresses the enzyme phosphodiesterase. This causes cAMP, which is normally metabolized by phosphodiesterase, to accumulate in certain parts of the cell.

"Many, many phosphodiesterases are drug targets," Scott noted. "So potentially, drugs that could target this particular phosphodiesterase, particularly, could be very useful. That’s still a long way away, but that’s where the work will go. Plus, it fits into a large body of work implicating these molecules as markers for certain forms of heart disease. Heart rate, for example, is controlled by calcium, and there’s some level of regulation by cyclic AMP as well."

To show the signal transduction process in a heart muscle cell, Scott and his colleagues used a fluorescent microscope that captures protein molecules stained with various colored dyes to show PKA activity in a cell. In one set of images, captured over six minutes, a greenish-yellow ring appears to expand around the cell’s nucleus before quickly shrinking. "That’s showing the rise in PKA activity, and the drop," Scott said.

Scott compares a cell to a highly organized city containing a variety of organizations serving particular functions, such as fire and police departments, an airport, a city hall and other entities. They all use one communication system, but information is delivered to, and interpreted by, each entity differently.

"The idea is that the cell is like this three-dimensional city, and at different times of the day, different things happen in the city," he explained. "This family of molecules we work on serves to pinpoint enzymes within three dimensions of the cell, and that’s very important because it means that these enzymes act very locally. What the imaging data in this paper shows is that not only do they work in three dimensions, but there’s this fourth dimension – time."

In addition, he said, "phosphodiesterase is a great drug target that could be something of importance in terms of pharmaceutical intervention at a later date."

Jonathan Modie | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ohsu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections
25.09.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>