Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How enzymes communicate

19.05.2017

Freiburg scientists explain the cell mechanism that transforms electrical signals into chemical ones

The enzymes nitric oxide (NO) synthase (NOS1) and protein kinase C (PKC) play an important role in a variety of signal transfer processes in neurons of the brain, as well as in many cell types of other organs.


Electro-chemical coupling through protein super complexes: The calcium channel (Cav2) delivers calcium ions (Ca2+) that activate the enzyme NO synthase (NOS) for generation of the messenger NO. Source: Bernd Fakler

Together with Prof. Dr. Bernd Fakler at the Institute of Physiology at the University of Freiburg, the scientists Dr. Cristina Constantin and Dr. Catrin Müller have shown for the first time that enzymes can be activated under physiological conditions through sole electrical stimulation of the cell membrane.

Protein super complexes that rapidly transform electrical signals at the cell membrane into chemical signal processes inside the cell emerge through direct structural interaction of both enzymes with voltage-gated calcium channels. The researchers have presented their work in the current issue of the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The Fakler group has previously shown that both calcium-dependent enzymes NOS1 and PKC are components of the protein nano-environment of certain voltage-gated calcium channels (Cav2-channels) in the brain. As yet, however, it was not know how these enzymes communicate with the calcium channels.

The research group has now found that both enzymes are integrated into protein super complex with Cav2 channels. Within such Cav2-NOS1/PKC complexes NOS1 or PKC are anchored at the cytoplasmic side of the cell membrane and are placed at in the immediate vicinity of the channel pore.

Upon excitation of the cell membrane, the Cav2 channels open and deliver calcium ions to the cell cytoplasm, where they bind to both enzymes. Calcium binding activates the enzymes, which subsequently produce the diffusible second messengers NO or phosphorylate cytoplasmic target proteins.

Due to the proximity between channel and enzyme, electrical stimulations of less than a millisecond duration are required for effective electro-chemical coupling. The latter becomes maximal when the cell, instead of being stimulated by individual impulses, fires action potentials with a frequency of one hertz or more.

The Cav2-enzyme super complexes not only guarantee an ultrafast and reliable electro-chemical coupling. They also ensure that signal transduction remains locally restricted, that is, within an area less than a few nanometers around the Cav2 channels. This local restriction guarantees that the enzymes only initiate specific cellular processes, while other calcium signalling pathways, including cell death, are prevented.

In addition, the researchers’ experiments highlighted the physiological mechanism for activation of NOS1 and PKC thus presenting an alternative to the widely used synthetic activators, such as NO donors or diacylglycerols.

Bernd Fakler is the director of Department II of the Institute of Physiology and area coordinator of the Cluster of Excellence BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies at the University of Freiburg.

Originalpublikation:
Constantin, C.E., Müller, C.S., Leitner, M., Bildl, W., Schulte, U., Oliver, D., and Fakler, B. (2017). Identification of Cav2-PKC and Cav2-NOS1 complexes as entities for ultrafast electro-mechanical coupling. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (in press).

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Bernd Fakler
Institute of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine / BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203-5175
E-Mail: bernd.fakler@physiologie.uni-freiburg.de

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.pr.uni-freiburg.de/pm-en/2017/how-enzymes-communicate?set_language=e...

Rudolf-Werner Dreier | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Identifying the blind spots of soil biodiversity
04.08.2020 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht AI & single-cell genomics
04.08.2020 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: AI & single-cell genomics

New software predicts cell fate

Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...

Im Focus: TU Graz Researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications

“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.

Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...

Im Focus: Tailored light inspired by nature

An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.

Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...

Im Focus: NYUAD astrophysicist investigates the possibility of life below the surface of Mars

  • A rover expected to explore below the surface of Mars in 2022 has the potential to provide more insights
  • The findings published in Scientific Reports, Springer Nature suggests the presence of traces of water on Mars, raising the question of the possibility of a life-supporting environment

Although no life has been detected on the Martian surface, a new study from astrophysicist and research scientist at the Center for Space Science at NYU Abu...

Im Focus: Manipulating non-magnetic atoms in a chromium halide enables tuning of magnetic properties

New approach creates synthetic layered magnets with unprecedented level of control over their magnetic properties

The magnetic properties of a chromium halide can be tuned by manipulating the non-magnetic atoms in the material, a team, led by Boston College researchers,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2020”: The final touches for surfaces

23.07.2020 | Event News

Conference radar for cybersecurity

21.07.2020 | Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Identifying the blind spots of soil biodiversity

04.08.2020 | Life Sciences

Implantable transmitter provides wireless option for biomedical devices

04.08.2020 | Medical Engineering

Surface clean-up technology won't solve ocean plastic problem

04.08.2020 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>