Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Canadian scientists unlock secret of calcium waves in cells

12.12.2002


Key step in process of developing targeted therapeutics to combat epilepsy



Scientists from Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital are able to depict for the first time how an important molecule called IP3 and its receptor interact to control calcium levels in cells, a process that is vital to normal brain function.

The study is published in this week’s edition of the international scientific journal Nature, and is a collaboration between scientists at Princess Margaret Hospital’s research arm, Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI), the University of Toronto, and the University of Tokyo.


The IP3 molecule is one of a dozen molecules within cells that act as messengers, translating chemical stimulus outside of the cell into a physiological response-for instance, an increase in glutamate triggers memory. The translation by the IP3 molecule is accomplished by setting waves of different calcium levels within the cell, with the receptor regulating the ebb and flow of these calcium waves. The process is critical to normal brain function, playing an important role in memory and learning. It is also believed to play a key role in epilepsy, since mice lacking IP3 receptors suffer epileptic seizures and improper brain function.

The scientists examined the atomic structure of the IP3 molecule and its receptor, and now know exactly how they bind together. Having an accurate 3D picture of the molecule-receptor interaction may aid in the design of drugs that either enhance or block the process of setting calcium levels in cells.

"Imagine the receptor as a doorway through which calcium passes in order for the cells to react," said Ivan Bosanac, lead author of the study, researcher at OCI, and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto. "What we’ve done is describe the doorway’s keyhole and how the IP3 molecule acts as the key to unlock it."

"This finding represents an important milestone in developing potential drug therapies that could one day combat diseases such as epilepsy," said Dr. Mitsu Ikura, Senior Scientist with OCI, and Professor of Medical Biophysics at University of Toronto. "Although development of such therapies is years away and will require much more research, understanding how the molecule IP3 binds with its receptor is critical to regulating calcium levels in cells and ensuring normal brain function."

The research was supported by a fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health and Research, a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and by a grant from the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN), in Japan. Dr. Ikura is a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Investigator. His laboratory at Princess Margaret Hospital is also supported by the George and Helen Vari Foundation.

Princess Margaret Hospital and its research arm, Ontario Cancer Institute, have achieved an international reputation as global leaders in the fight against cancer. Princess Margaret Hospital is a member of the University Health Network, which also includes Toronto General Hospital and Toronto Western Hospital. All three are teaching hospitals affiliated with the University of Toronto.

Vince Rice | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utoronto.ca/

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 >>>