Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

One step further toward treatment for degenerative diseases

18.05.2004


Scientists identify a key mechanism to recognize misfolded proteins



Scientists at McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine have discovered a key step that will provide new targets for treatments of many degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Cystic Fibrosis and Diabetes. Dr. David Thomas, Chair of Biochemistry, Dr. John Bergeron, Chair of Anatomy and Cell Biology and colleagues have identified a mechanism by which misfolded proteins are recognized in the cell. This is a critical process as proteins that are not correctly folded or shaped are extremely harmful to cells and are the basis for a number of human degenerative diseases. The findings were published in the prestigious journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.

"We have identified a central enzyme that is sensitive to very subtle changes in the folded state of a protein," explained Dr. David Thomas. "Proteins are the building blocks and machines of our bodies. In order for them to work correctly they have to fit together. Cells in our bodies have developed quality control mechanisms to assure proper folding. When something goes wrong, cells can accumulate misfolded proteins that don’t work properly. The misfolding of proteins is the basis for a number of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Our findings are an important step toward the development of innovative prevention and treatment strategies for such diseases."


Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bergeron, together with graduate student Sean Taylor and post-doctoral fellow Andrew Ferguson, showed that the enzyme UDP-glucose:glycoprotein glucosyltransferase (UGGT) can sense specific regions of disorder and activity of proteins – key steps to recognizing misfolded proteins and removing them from the cells.

The paper and accompanying News and Views are currently available online.


This study was supported by research grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Dr. David Thomas (http://www.mcgill.ca/biochemistry/department/faculty/thomas/) is the Chair of the McGill Department of Biochemistry and holds a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Genetics. Dr. Thomas’ research focuses on cell signaling pathways and their role in infectious diseases, and on molecular chaperone systems in the endoplasmic reticulum.

McGill University (www.mcgill.ca) is Canada’s leading research-intensive university and has earned an international reputation for scholarly achievement and scientific discovery. The 21 faculties and professional schools offer more than 300 programs, from the undergraduate to the doctoral level, and our professors have received their education from leading academic centres around the world. There are approximately 23,000 full- and part- time undergraduate students and 7,000 full- and part-time graduate students. McGill was recently named Canadian Research University of the Year in the Medical/Doctoral category based on research funding and publication information compiled by Research Infosource.

The CIHR (www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca) is Canada’s premier agency for health research. Its objective is to excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products and a strengthened health care system. CIHR’s Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction supports research to enhance mental health, neurological health, vision, hearing, and cognitive functioning and to reduce the burden of related disorders through prevention strategies, screening, diagnosis, treatment, support systems, and palliation.

Sandra McPherson | McGill University
Further information:
http://www.mcgill.ca/biochemistry/department/faculty/thomas/
http://www.mcgill.ca
http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Helping to Transport Proteins Inside the Cell
21.11.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht UNH researchers create a more effective hydrogel for healing wounds
21.11.2018 | University of New Hampshire

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 diode for magnetic fields

Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.

Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helping to Transport Proteins Inside the Cell

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Meta-surface corrects for chromatic aberrations across all kinds of lenses

21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Removing toxic mercury from contaminated water

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>