Twenty-seven chemical elements are considered to be essential for human life. Now there is a 28th – bromine.
In a paper published Thursday by the journal Cell, Vanderbilt University researchers establish for the first time that bromine, among the 92 naturally-occurring chemical elements in the universe, is the 28th element essential for tissue development in all animals, from primitive sea creatures to humans.
“Without bromine, there are no animals. That’s the discovery,” said Billy Hudson, Ph.D., the paper’s senior author and Elliott V. Newman Professor of Medicine.
The researchers, led by co-first authors Scott McCall, Christopher Cummings, Ph.D., and Gautam (Jay) Bhave, M.D., Ph.D., showed that fruit flies died when bromine was removed from their diet but survived when bromine was restored.
This finding has important implications for human disease. “Multiple patient groups … have been shown to be bromine deficient,” said McCall, an M.D./Ph.D. student. Bromine supplementation may improve the health of patients on dialysis or total parenteral nutrition (TPN), for example.
The report is the latest in a series of landmark papers by the Vanderbilt group that have helped define how collagen IV scaffolds undergird the basement membrane of all tissues, including the kidney’s filtering units.
Hudson said the foundation for the discovery about bromine goes back 30 years when he was at the University of Kansas Medical School.
Curiosity about two rare kidney diseases led, in the mid-1980s, to the discovery of two previously unknown proteins that twist around each other to form the triple-helical collagen IV molecule, like cables supporting a bridge. Disease results when these cables are defective or damaged.
Hudson moved to Vanderbilt in 2002.
In 2009, colleagues led by Roberto Vanacore, Ph.D., assistant professor of Medicine, reported in Science magazine the discovery of a novel sulfilimine bond between a sulfur atom and a nitrogen atom that acts like a “fastener” to connect the collagen IV molecules forming scaffolds for cells.
A defective bond may trigger the rare auto-immune disease Goodpasture’s syndrome. The disorder is named for the late Vanderbilt pathologist and former medical school dean Ernest Goodpasture, M.D., who was best known for his contribution to the development of vaccines.
That discovery led to simple question: how is the bond formed?
In 2012, Bhave, assistant professor of Medicine, Cummings, now a postdoctoral fellow, and Vanacore led the effort that found the answer -- the enzyme peroxidasin.
Conserved across the animal kingdom, peroxidasin also may play a role in disease. An overactive enzyme may lead to excessive deposition of collagen IV and thickening of the basement membrane, which can impair kidney function, they reported in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.
In the current study, to which Vanacore and Andrea Page-McCaw, Ph.D., associate professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, also contributed, the scientists demonstrated the unique and essential role for ionic bromide as a “co-factor,” enabling peroxidasin to form the sulfilimine bond.
The chemical element bromine is thus “essential for animal development and tissue architecture,” they report.
The study was supported in part by National Institutes of Health grants DK018381, DK100094, GM007347, DK097306 and GM073883.
Craig Boerner | newswise
A Fluttering Accordion
04.08.2015 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Molecular Spies to Fight Cancer - Procedure for improving tumor diagnosis successfully tested
03.08.2015 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf
Continuing current carbon dioxide (CO2) emission trends throughout this century and beyond would leave a legacy of heat and acidity in the deep ocean. These...
Glacier decline in the first decade of the 21st century has reached a historical record, since the onset of direct observations. Glacier melt is a global phenomenon and will continue even without further climate change. This is shown in the latest study by the World Glacier Monitoring Service under the lead of the University of Zurich, Switzerland.
The World Glacier Monitoring Service, domiciled at the University of Zurich, has compiled worldwide data on glacier changes for more than 120 years. Together...
Using ultracold atoms trapped in light crystals, scientists from the MPQ, LMU, and the Weizmann Institute observe a novel state of matter that never thermalizes.
What happens if one mixes cold and hot water? After some initial dynamics, one is left with lukewarm water—the system has thermalized to a new thermal...
Physicists from Regensburg and Marburg, Germany have succeeded in taking a slow-motion movie of speeding electrons in a solid driven by a strong light wave. In the process, they have unraveled a novel quantum phenomenon, which will be reported in the forthcoming edition of Nature.
The advent of ever faster electronics featuring clock rates up to the multiple-gigahertz range has revolutionized our day-to-day life. Researchers and...
Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing.
04.08.2015 | Event News
23.07.2015 | Event News
10.07.2015 | Event News
04.08.2015 | Information Technology
04.08.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering
04.08.2015 | Materials Sciences