Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers unfold new details about a powerful protein

10.10.2014

Using X-rays and neutron beams, a team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, University of Utah and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have teased out new information about Protein Kinase A (PKA), a ubiquitous master switch that helps regulate fundamental cellular functions like energy consumption and interactions with hormones, neurotransmitters and drugs.

"Mutations in PKA can lead to a variety of different human diseases, including cancers, metabolic and cardiovascular diseases and diseases involving the brain and nervous system," said senior author Susan Taylor, PhD, professor of chemistry, biochemistry and pharmacology at UC San Diego and international authority on PKA. "Developing treatments and cures for these diseases depends upon knowing how the switch works."

Writing in the October 10 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Taylor and colleagues focused on one of four forms of PKA called "II-beta," which is found mostly in the brain and in fat, where it may play an important role in obesity and diet-induced insulin-resistance associated with type 2 diabetes.

All forms of PKA are controlled by a signaling molecule called cyclic AMP or cAMP. Many cellular functions are based upon changing amounts of cAMP within cells. PKA is the molecular sensor for cAMP, modulating cell activity according to cAMP levels.

The scientists investigated which parts of the II-beta protein were needed to determine its overall shape, internal architecture and ability to change shape – factors that dictate function. II-beta is very compact when inactive but extends and separates into subunits when it senses cAMP.

"A key question regarding the architecture of the II-beta was whether both of its cAMP-sensing mechanisms were needed for the unique changes in shape that it undergoes with cAMP," said first author Donald K. Blumenthal, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Utah College of Pharmacy.

Researchers removed one of II-beta's cAMP sensors and then documented its ability to change shape in response to cAMP, using small-angle X-ray and advanced neutron scattering imaging technologies at Oak Ridge's High Flux Isotope Reactor in Tennessee. They found the protein could still change shape with just one sensor and that its internal architecture remained similar to II-beta protein with both its cAMP sensors.

The findings further narrow and define the key components of II-beta and identify new regions for further investigation. Taylor said the collaborative, multi-team effort also demonstrated the importance of using different techniques in an iterative way to unravel the dynamic properties of complex systems.

###

Co-authors include Jeffrey Copps, Eric V. Smith-Nguyen and Ping Zhang, UCSD Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and William T. Heller, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Funding support for this research came, in part, from the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health (grant GM34921).

Scott LaFee | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Magic number colloidal clusters
13.12.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Record levels of mercury released by thawing permafrost in Canadian Arctic
13.12.2018 | University of Alberta

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magic number colloidal clusters

13.12.2018 | Life Sciences

UNLV study unlocks clues to how planets form

13.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Live from the ocean research vessel Atlantis

13.12.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>