Scientists identify a key mechanism to recognize misfolded proteins
Scientists at McGill Universitys Faculty of Medicine have discovered a key step that will provide new targets for treatments of many degenerative diseases such as Alzheimers, 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 dont work properly. The misfolding of proteins is the basis for a number of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons. Our findings are an important step toward the development of innovative prevention and treatment strategies for such diseases."
Sandra McPherson | McGill University
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