Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers discover 'modus operandi' of heart muscle protein

14.04.2008
Implications for cardiac development and health

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered that a protein called leiomodin (Lmod) promotes the assembly of an important heart muscle protein called actin. What’s more, Lmod directs the assembly of actin to form the pumping unit of the heart. The findings appear in this week’s issue of Science.

“Very little was known about Lmod when we began this study,” says lead author Roberto Dominguez, PhD, Associate Professor of Physiology.

“It appeared that this protein was present in muscle cells but this had not been demonstrated directly and nobody knew what it did,” explains Dominguez. “We compared the amino acid sequence of Lmod with the sequence of another protein called tropomodulin [Tmod] that was already known to bind actin filaments in muscle cells. We found that one part of Lmod was very similar to Tmod, but Lmod was a bigger protein than Tmod and contained unique features that made us suspect that it could assemble the actin filaments of the heart muscle. This is exactly what we found.”

... more about:
»Control »Lmod »Muscle »actin »cardiac »filaments

The results answer a question that scientists studying the heart have long asked: What controls the assembly of the pumping unit of the heart?

Actin is the most abundant protein in most animal cells and forms long polymers, or filaments, that make up the cell skeleton. In the cells that make up muscles and the heart, interactions of actin filaments with motor proteins produce the contractions that pump blood through the body.

Actin spontaneously forms polymers in test tubes, but living cells use nucleator proteins to control the time and place where actin filaments forms. “For a long time, physiologists have wondered what serves as the nucleator protein in cardiac muscle cells,” says co-author Professor Thomas Pollard, PhD, of Yale University. “It was very satisfying after all these years to discover that Lmod can serve as the nucleator protein to initiate the forming of actin polymers in heart muscle cells.”

Lmod also directs actin filaments to the sarcomere, the part of the heart that controls contractions or pumping. When Lmod was knocked down in cardiac muscle cells by an RNA silencing technique, the sarcomeres became completely disorganized and could not direct muscles to contract.

Proper localization of Lmod in heart cells is critical, because even moderately elevated levels promote the formation of abnormal actin bundles in the nuclei of cardiac muscle cells where actin does not belong. A similar disorganization of actin bundles is characteristic of a disease of skeletal muscle weakness called intranuclear rod myopathy. Although this disease is caused by a mutation in a skeletal muscle-specific actin gene, the similarity in appearance suggests that mutations in Lmod could cause the same type of disease in cardiac muscle cells.

The Penn team is currently studying how the heart regulates the level of Lmod and how Lmod might be relevant to cardiac muscle disease. In addition, the team is attempting to crystallize Lmod in order to study its structure directly.

Malgorzata Boczkowska of Penn and David Chereau of Boston Biomedical Institute are co-first authors of this study. Other key contributors are Pekka Lappalainen and Aneta Skwarbek-Maruszewska of the University of Helsinki; Ikuko Fujiwara of Yale; David B. Hayes of Boston Biomedical Institute; and Grzegorz Rebowski of Penn. The study was supported by grants from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

PENN Medicine is a $3.5 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn's School of Medicine is currently ranked #3 in the nation in U.S.News & World Report's survey of top research-oriented medical schools; and, according to most recent data from the National Institutes of Health, received over $379 million in NIH research funds in the 2006 fiscal year. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes three hospitals — its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S.News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center — a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home care and hospice.

Karen Kreeger | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu

Further reports about: Control Lmod Muscle actin cardiac filaments

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht If Machines Could Smell ...
19.07.2019 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

nachricht Algae-killing viruses spur nutrient recycling in oceans
18.07.2019 | Rutgers University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Better thermal conductivity by adjusting the arrangement of atoms

Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.

In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...

Im Focus: First-ever visualizations of electrical gating effects on electronic structure

Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.

Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...

Im Focus: Megakaryocytes act as „bouncers“ restraining cell migration in the bone marrow

Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.

Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...

Im Focus: Artificial neural network resolves puzzles from condensed matter physics: Which is the perfect quantum theory?

For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.

Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...

Im Focus: Extremely hard yet metallically conductive: Bayreuth researchers develop novel material with high-tech prospects

An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".

The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

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

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Heat transport through single molecules

19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Welcome Committee for Comets

19.07.2019 | Earth Sciences

Better thermal conductivity by adjusting the arrangement of atoms

19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>