Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scripps Research scientists find way to block stress-related cell death

03.06.2011
Discovery could provide new target for drug development against conditions including heart attack, stroke and Parkinson's disease

Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have uncovered a potentially important new therapeutic target that could prevent stress-related cell death, a characteristic of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, as well as heart attack and stroke.

In the study, published recently in the journal ACS Chemical Biology, the scientists showed they could disrupt a specific interaction of a critical enzyme that would prevent cell death without harming other important enzyme functions.

The enzyme in question is c-jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK), pronounced "junk," which has been implicated in many processes in the body's response to stresses, such as oxidative stress, protein misfolding, and metabolic disorder. JNK also plays an important role in nerve cell survival and has become a target for drugs to treat neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease.

In recent studies, JNK has been found to migrate to the mitochondria—the part of the cell that generates chemical energy and that is involved in cell growth and death. That migration, coupled with JNK activation, is associated with a number of serious health issues, including apoptosis or programmed cell death, liver damage, neuronal cell death, stroke and heart attack.

"Activated JNK migrates to the mitochondria in reaction to a stress signal," said Philip LoGrasso, professor in the Department of Molecular Therapeutics and senior director for drug discovery at Scripps Florida who led the study. "Once there, it amplifies the effects of reactive oxygen species that cause significant damage to the cell. We developed a small peptide that intervenes in JNK migration and blocks those harmful effects—specifically cell death."

LoGrasso noted that the team was able to block JNK mitochondrial interaction without harming any other important enzyme processes, such as JNK's impact on gene expression. These findings, LoGrasso said, suggest that this interaction could be exploited in the development of a new drug.

"The peptide we developed will never be a drug, but it is an important new investigative tool that we can use to selectively probe mitochondrial biology," he said. "Our hope is to produce a small molecule that can mimic the inhibitory effect of this peptide. If we can do that, we might be able to selectively inhibit JNK mitochondrial interaction and use it to treat a number of diseases."

The first author of the study, "Selective Inhibition of Mitochondrial JNK Signaling Achieved Using Peptide Mimicry of the Sab Kinase Interacting Motif-1 (KIM1)," is Jeremy W. Chambers of Scripps Research. Other authors include Lisa Cherry, John D. Laughlin, and Mariana Figuera-Losada, also of Scripps Research. For more information, see http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/cb200062a .

The study was supported by National Institutes of Health and the Saul and Theresa Esman Foundation.

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute is one of the world's largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its discoveries in immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and vaccine development, as well as for its insights into autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious disease. Headquartered in La Jolla, California, the institute also includes a campus in Jupiter, Florida, where scientists focus on drug discovery and technology development in addition to basic biomedical science. Scripps Research currently employs about 3,000 scientists, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students on its two campuses. The institute's graduate program, which awards Ph.D. degrees in biology and chemistry, is ranked among the top ten such programs in the nation.

Mika Ono | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.scripps.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells
22.02.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht New insights into the information processing of motor neurons
22.02.2017 | Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>