Roslin scientists and colleagues at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla, California, are studying how enzymes control production of calcium phosphate in the skeleton. Up to 10 percent of the total bone mass is renewed by calcification every year - but elsewhere in the body calcification is a problem that can lead to kidney stones, hardened arteries or osteoarthritis. The research will help to understand why calcification normally only occurs in bone, and how this is controlled.
The identification of the role of the enzyme PHOSPHO1 in bone calcification at Roslin, a sponsored institute of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), has directly led to the £1M from the US National Institute of Health to take the research forward.
PHOSPHO1 plays a key role in healthy bone development by producing inorganic phosphate, as Dr Colin Farquharson from the Roslin Institute explained: "This is one of the first steps in a process where mineral crystals of calcium phosphate are produced and laid down in precise amounts within the bone's scaffolding."
The joint research project will be investigating how PHOSPHO1 interacts with other enzymes to control skeleton calcification and limit calcium production in other parts of the body.
Dr Farquharson explained: "By blocking PHOSPHO1 production, we can reduce initial mineralisation, or calcification, by up to 70 percent. But there must be other enzymes and pathways involved, to account for the remaining level of mineralisation."
Professor Julia Goodfellow, Chief Executive of BBSRC, said: "This US funded project shows the research at Roslin Institute is recognised internationally. This research will provide fundamental insights into the mechanisms of normal bone mineralisation, which could lead to therapeutic strategies for disorders such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and hardened arteries."
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22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
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.
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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!
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For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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