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 How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism
19.01.2018 | Weill Cornell Medicine

nachricht Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

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: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>