In an article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Enrico Di Cera, M.D., chair of the department of biochemistry and molecular biology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and lead researcher of the study, said the NIH-funded research offers important information about the protein.
“This research is very basic and very important,” said Di Cera. “It provides a missing link between the inactive zymogen form of thrombin and the mature enzyme generated upon vascular injury.”
Before thrombin becomes active, it circulates throughout the blood in the inactive zymogen form. When the active enzyme is needed, for example after a vascular injury, the coagulation cascade is initiated and the zymogen is converted into an active enzyme that causes blood to clot.
Blood clotting performs the important function of stopping blood loss after an injury. However, when triggered in the wrong conditions, clotting can lead to debilitating or fatal conditions like heart attack, stroke and deep vein thrombosis.In previous laboratory research, Di Cera re-engineered thrombin to act as an anticoagulant, stopping blood from clotting and opening the door to the development of new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of thrombosis, the presence of blood clots in blood vessels, which is responsible for nearly a third of all deaths in the U.S.
The process involves growing a crystal of the protein, shooting x-ray beams through the crystal and analyzing the diffraction pattern generated on a detector plate in order to detail the three-dimensional structure of the protein.
The structure of the zymogen form of thrombin provides crucial details about the activation mechanism that sheds light on the way the mature enzyme works. Future research can capitalize on these new findings to define better strategies for therapeutic intervention.
“Until now, we’ve known nothing about the zymogen form of thrombin or any blood-clotting enzyme,” said Di Cera. “All the structural information has been limited to the active form.
“We now know that the zymogen form of thrombin is very different from the mature enzyme, in ways that open new opportunities for therapeutic intervention.”
Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: cancer, liver disease, heart/lung disease, aging and brain disease, and infectious disease.
Carrie Bebermeyer | EurekAlert!
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy