Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protein structure key for AIDS, cell function

20.09.2005


Cornell University researchers have discovered the 3-D crystal structure of a protein, human CD38, which may lead to important discoveries about how cells release calcium -- a mineral used in almost every cellular process. The findings also may offer insights into mechanisms involved in certain diseases, ranging from leukemia to diabetes and HIV-AIDS.


Qun Liu and Quan Hao. Copyright Elsevier Ltd.
This artistic rendering of the molecular structure of human CD38 appears on the cover of this month’s issue of the journal Structure. Copyright © Cornell University



Levels of the protein climb, for reasons unknown, when people fall ill, making human CD38 a marker for these diseases.

As one example, researchers have shown that CD38 interrupts an interaction between the AIDS virus and its point of entry into cells -- a protein receptor called CD4. By looking at CD38’s 3-D structure, the Cornell researchers identified a peptide, an organic compound composed of amino acids, that they believe may play a role in interrupting the interface between CD4 and HIV-AIDS.


The findings, published in the journal Structure (Vol. 13, Sept. 2005), mark a major step toward designing drugs that could inhibit processes related to certain diseases. Knowing the protein’s structure also opens the door to understanding CD38’s many functions related to key biological processes about which researchers know very little.

"For example, the mechanism of how a cell mediates calcium release is largely unknown," said the paper’s senior author, Quan Hao, director of the Macromolecular Diffraction Facility (MacCHESS), the biomedical research arm of the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS). "So this is a very fundamental question for biologists."

It turns out that CD38 helps produce at least two calcium messenger molecules, each of which then opens channels for the release of calcium from specific stores, or reservoirs, within cell organelles.

High intensity X-rays made it possible to pass photons through a protein crystal to reveal its structure. Cornell’s synchrotron produces beams of X-rays millions of times more intense than conventional X-ray generators allow. The very intense beams were necessary to determine the atomic structure of CD38. The research group, which includes researchers from the University of Minnesota, also developed new calculations that allowed them to extract the protein’s entire structure from the X-ray images.

By revealing CD38’s detailed structure, scientists can now begin to examine how the protein’s form influences its molecular functions.

"People have been struggling with this for a long time, and we have finally solved it," said Hao.

The National Institutes of Health, which supports MacCHESS, also funded this research. The paper’s other lead authors include MacCHESS graduate student Qun Liu and researcher support specialist Irina Kriksunov.

Joe Schwartz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cornell.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>