Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The Beat Goes On: Research Yields Two 'Firsts' Regarding Protein Crucial to Human Cardiac Function

03.09.2012
Florida State University researchers led by physics doctoral student Campion Loong have achieved significant benchmarks in a study of the human cardiac protein alpha-tropomyosin, which is an essential, molecular-level component that controls the heart’s contraction on every beat.

Using an imaging method called atomic force microscopy, Loong achieved two “firsts”: the first direct imaging of individual alpha-tropomyosin molecules, which are very small — roughly 40 nanometers long — and the first demonstrated examples of a measure of the human cardiac protein’s flexibility. From there, he established a baseline of how flexible a normal version of the protein is supposed to be in a healthy human heart.

“This basic research is important to broadening our understanding of how the human heart functions normally at the molecular level,” Loong said. “The flexibility of alpha-tropomyosin dictates how effectively or properly the heart muscle will contract on each beat and has implications for keeping the heart free of cardiovascular disease.

“Before this study, we did not know how flexible this protein was,” Loong said. “Using these results, now we can conduct subsequent studies to compare disease-related mutants of this protein to see how much they deviate from normal versions.”

Loong served as the lead author of the paper “Persistence Length of Human Cardiac a-Tropomyosin Measured by Single Molecule Direct Probe Microscopy,” which was published in the journal PLoS ONE. He conducted the research with physics Professor Huan-Xiang Zhou and biological science Professor P. Bryant Chase, both of Florida State.

When an electrical signal is generated in the heart to make it contract, calcium is released inside each heart muscle cell. The calcium then binds to a protein called troponin, and that triggers the “flexing movement” of alpha-tropomyosin, which allows another protein called myosin — the motor protein — to interact with the troponin/tropomyosin actin filaments. This series of events is what generates the heart’s contraction that pumps blood. A subsequent removal of calcium inside each heart cell is what relaxes the heart, which allows the heart to fill with blood to be pumped on the next beat.

“Alpha-tropomyosin is a key element that makes the calcium signal either turn the heart on, making it contract, or turn it off, making it relax,” Chase said. “There is an optimal range of flexibility of alpha-tropomyosin for the normal heart to function properly. The molecule can be too stiff or it can be too flexible, either of which could lead to cardiovascular disease. What we ultimately think is that evolution has tuned the mechanical properties of these proteins for optimal function in the heart.”

P. Bryant Chase | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.fsu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Colorectal cancer risk factors decrypted
13.07.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

nachricht Algae Have Land Genes
13.07.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters

13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Algae Have Land Genes

13.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>