Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Unfolding the genesis of ‘bad’ seeds

06.04.2010
Specific characteristics of small clumps of prion proteins dictate the conformation of larger aggregates that could influence disease symptoms

When the prion protein misfolds and aggregates in humans, it can cause fatal neurodegenerative diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Gerstmann–Sträussler–Scheinker syndrome.

These diseases have different symptoms, partly because the prion protein can misfold into different shapes. Just how a single protein can misfold into different aggregate conformations, however, has confounded scientists.

Now, Motomasa Tanaka and colleagues at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Wako have reported that small clusters of prion proteins called oligomers, which develop from monomer proteins, determine the eventual shape of the larger prion aggregate1. The findings were published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology in collaboration with researchers from the United States and from the RIKEN SPring-8 Center in Harima.

The research team used a yeast model system to study prion misfolding and aggregation, because yeast contain a prion-like protein called Sup35. This yeast protein misfolds into different aggregate conformations that cause the yeast to turn various colors—from white to pink—when they are grown on nutrient plates. A synthetic version of Sup35 can also form these distinct conformations when grown at different temperatures.

Using various biophysical techniques, the researchers observed that the synthetic Sup35 formed oligomers when they were grown at a low temperature, but not at a high temperature. The Sup35 grown at a low temperature made the yeast turn white, while Sup35 grown at a high temperature made the yeast turn pink. This suggests that the oligomers, formed at only the low temperature, may be an intermediate step in the formation of the larger aggregates that cause the ‘white’ phenotype.

The team then investigated which amino acid region of Sup35 is involved in the formation of the oligomer. By mutating various amino acids of the Sup35 protein, the researchers found that the parts of the protein required for oligomer formation were different to those required for creation of the larger aggregate. In addition, while oligomer formation was involved in acquisition of the ‘white’ phenotype, it was not required for driving the growth of the larger prion aggregate. These findings suggest that oligomers serve as an initial scaffold to determine the eventual shape—and therefore the physiological characteristics—of the larger prion aggregate. Tanaka proposes that “inhibiting these interactions between prion proteins could become a therapeutic strategy for the neurodegenerative prion diseases.”

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Tanaka Research Unit, RIKEN Brain Science Institute

Saeko Okada | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.rikenresearch.riken.jp/eng/research/6230
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>