How the same enzyme helps protect brain cells from the destruction of Alzheimers yet contributes to the blood vessel disease of diabetics is a puzzle Dr. Mario B. Marrero wants to solve.
Dr. Mario B. Marrero is studying an enzyme that helps protect brain cells from destruction but wreaks havoc on the blood vessels of diabetics.
"I call JAK2 the good, the bad and the ugly because its function depends on the cell type and where it acts," says the biochemist at the Medical College of Georgia who wants to eliminate – or at least control – the "bad" and "ugly."
JAK2, or janus kinase 2, is an enzyme found in all cells that plays an important role in development and growth; mice lacking this enzyme die in utero, Dr. Marrero says. After birth, the enzyme becomes a two-edged sword that activates or deactivates other proteins and plays a role in Alzheimers, diabetes, hypertension and kidney failure.
Toni Baker | EurekAlert!
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