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 Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

When corals eat plastics

24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure

24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering

First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR

24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>