Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tiny protein prevents disease-related cell death

12.05.2003


Tiny protein targets Bax, inhibits apoptosis



Researchers at The Burnham Institute have found that humanin, a small, 24-amino acid protein recently discovered in studies of Alzheimer’s Disease, suppresses activation of the protein Bax. Bax triggers pathologic cell death in a number of diseases, including Parkinson’s, stroke, heart attack and degeneration of ovaries during menopause. These results, to be published later this month in the journal Nature (currently available at the journal’s website), suggest a novel target for therapeutic design based on inhibiting the cell destructive activity of Bax.

Bax protein is known to promote the cell death program (also known as apoptosis) latent in all cells. It does so by attacking the cell’s powerhouse, called “mitochondria”, resulting in the cell’s demise. Apoptosis is critical for normal development and maintaining cell balance. Many diseases are identified with malfunction of apoptosis: too much cell death is associated with degenerative diseases of the nervous system, stroke and heart attack; failure to activate the cell death program is one of the hallmarks of cancer.


Dr. Reed’s laboratory identified humanin as a Bax-interactive protein. In the current study, they showed that humanin bound to Bax, which prevented its targeting to mitochondria and blocked its ability to cause cell death.

“Our results demonstrate that Bax is the target of humanin, and they suggest at least three novel ways of designing therapeutics that could prevent or arrest diseases associated with activation of Bax,” says Dr. Reed.

Dr. Reed envisions that the tiny protein humanin could be synthesized and developed as an injectable drug for acute situations, such as heart attack or stroke, because humanin has the unique ability to readily enter cells. Gene therapy that exploits humanin’s ability to translocate from cell to cell could also be developed to protect cells in the vicinity of the gene’s injection, such as the heart or certain regions of the brain. Structural information about humanin could be used to pattern chemicals developed into pill form, for more convenient administration protecting against pathological cell death.



Dr. Reed is President and CEO of The Burnham Institute, and Professor in the Institute’s Del E. Webb Center for Neuroscience and Aging Research and in the Cancer Center.

Co-author Arnold Satterthwait, Ph.D., Burnham Institute Professor, synthesized peptides used in this study.

This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense.

The Burnham Institute is an independent, nonprofit, public benefit organization dedicated to basic biomedical research principally in the areas of cancer, aging, and the neurosciences. The Institute ranks consistently among the world’s most influential research organizations for the impact of its research in analyses conducted annually by the Institute for Scientific Information.

Nancy Beddingfield | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.burnham-inst.org/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

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....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

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....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

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...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

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...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>