Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers uncover key interaction in cholesterol regulation

05.02.2008
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have determined the specific way in which a destructive protein binds to and interferes with a molecule that removes low-density lipoproteins (LDL), the so-called “bad” cholesterol, from the blood.

“The practical benefit of this finding is that we can now search for new ways to lower cholesterol by designing targeted antibodies to disrupt this interaction,” said Dr. Jay Horton, professor of internal medicine and molecular genetics and a senior author of the study, which appears online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The protein, called PCSK9, has emerged as an important regulator of “bad” cholesterol in the blood, said Dr. Horton, whose research focuses in part on understanding the protein’s function.

PCSK9 disrupts the activity of a key molecule called the low-density lipoprotein receptor, or LDLR. This molecule, which juts out from the surface of cells, latches on to “bad” cholesterol in the bloodstream and removes it by drawing it into the cells.

... more about:
»Interaction »LDL »LDLR »PCSK9 »receptor

The PCSK9 protein also can latch on to the LDL receptor. This binding, however, triggers a chain of biochemical reactions that leads to the destruction of the LDL receptor. With fewer receptors available, more “bad” cholesterol remains in the bloodstream.

“You want to have LDL receptors to clear LDL from the blood – that’s a good thing,” Dr. Horton said. “So you don’t want to have PCSK9; it normally functions in a harmful way.”

Too much LDL cholesterol in the blood is a major risk factor for heart disease, heart attack and stroke because it contributes to the buildup of plaque that clogs the walls of arteries. More than 25 million people worldwide take a class of drugs called statins to lower their cholesterol to within recommended healthy levels.

To determine exactly how PCSK9 and the LDLR physically interact, the researchers, led by Dr. Hyock Joo Kwon, an instructor in biochemistry, collaborated with Dr. Johann Deisenhofer, professor of biochemistry, an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a senior author of the study. Dr. Deisenhofer shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in discovering the structure of a key protein involved in photosynthesis.

Using X-rays bounced off crystals made up of both PCSK9 and a portion of the LDLR protein, the researchers identified small regions of each protein that attach to each other. They then created a detailed structural model of the area.

“It looks like those portions are absolutely essential for the interaction to take place,” Dr. Horton said.

The researchers are now designing antibodies and small chains of peptides – the building blocks of proteins – that have the ability to jam the interaction between LDLR and PCSK9.

Dr. Horton’s previous studies have shown that mice lacking PCSK9 have LDL cholesterol levels less than half that of normal mice.

Studies by other UT Southwestern researchers have found that people with mutations in the PCSK9 gene, which prevented them from making normal levels of the PCSK9 protein, had LDL cholesterol levels 28 percent lower than individuals without the mutation and were protected from developing coronary heart disease. That research was led by Dr. Jonathan Cohen, professor of internal medicine, and Dr. Helen Hobbs, director of the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development.

While statin drugs work by increasing the number of LDL receptors on cells, a drug targeting PCSK9 might prevent the existing receptors from being degraded.

“These studies suggest that inhibiting PCSK9’s action may be another route to lowering LDL cholesterol in individuals with high cholesterol,” said Dr. Horton.

Aline McKenzie | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu
http://www.utsouthwestern.org/patientcare/medicalservices/hlv.html

Further reports about: Interaction LDL LDLR PCSK9 receptor

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs
18.04.2019 | University of Hawaii at Manoa

nachricht New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection
18.04.2019 | Polytechnique Montréal

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>