Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The big clean up after stress

25.05.2018

When cells become stressed, they activate specific response patterns. Würzburg researchers have identified new details of these responses, which can help to get a better understanding of neurodegenerative diseases.

Toxic substances, nutrient shortage, viral infection, heat and many other events trigger stress responses in cells. In such cases, the affected cells launch a programme which tries to protect them against stress-related damages. They usually ramp down the production of endogenous proteins to save resources which they later need to repair cell damages or to survive under the stress conditions for some time.


Microscopic colour image showing cells with normal (green dots) and abnormal (yellow dots) stress granules.

Photo: Team Buchberger

Stress granules are a visible sign of such stress reactions: The small granules consisting of numerous proteins and messenger RNAs build up inside the cell when protein production is suspended. Once the stress is over, the cell takes up its regular operation again and eliminates the stress granules. But if this clearance process does not work according to plan, serious consequences can arise.

Recent studies show that stress granules are suspected to at least contribute to two incurable neurodegenerative diseases: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which causes muscle atrophy and lethal palsy in its final stages, and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the second most common type of dementia in people under the age of 65.

Published in "Molecular Cell"

The scientists from the Biocenter of the University of Würzburg have now uncovered new details of the clearance process of stress granules. The study was headed by biochemist Professor Alexander Buchberger. The lead author is Ankit Turakhiya, a member of Research Training Group GRK2243 "Understanding Ubiquitylation:

From Molecular Mechanisms to Disease". Other contributors were Professor Andreas Schlosser from the Rudolf Virchow Center of the University of Würzburg and Professor Kay Hofmann (University of Cologne). The scientists present the results of their research in the current issue of Molecular Cell.

"We were able to demonstrate that the ZFAND1 protein is necessary for the normal clearance of the stress granules. When ZFAND1 is absent, some granules cannot be dissolved and change their structure as a result. These abnormal stress granules then have to be disposed of by autophagy, the cellular waste collection service, in a complex process," Alexander Buchberger sums up the central result of the new study. However, ZFAND1 does not directly impact the elimination process. Instead, it recruits a special enzyme complex required to eliminate defective proteins, the so-called proteasome, bringing it together with the stress granules.

An unexpected discovery

Buchberger explains that they had been surprised to find that the proteasome plays such a prominent role in eliminating the stress granules. He says that until now researchers had assumed that defective proteins at stress granules are eliminated together with the latter by autophagy – an assumption the biochemists were able to correct in their study.

What may appear to be mere fundamental research with little practical relevance to the layperson is in fact highly relevant for medical research. "The accumulation of abnormal stress granules is considered to be a potential cause of neurodegenerative diseases," Buchberger explains. He therefore believes that it is vital to clarify how stress granules are formed and eliminated in order to better understand the pathogenesis of these diseases and find potential targets for treating them.

In a next step, Buchberger and his team are planning to analyse the composition of stress granules in more detail and to identify the defective proteins that need to be removed by the proteasome. Their overarching goal is to shed light on the regulatory processes involved in the creation and elimination of stress granules.

"ZFAND1 Recruits p97 and the 26S Proteasome to Promote the Clearance of Arsenite-Induced Stress Granules"; doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2018.04.021

Contact

Prof. Dr. Alexander Buchberger, Department of Biochemistry, T: +49 931 31-88031, alexander.buchberger@biozentrum.uni-wuerzburg.de

Gunnar Bartsch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Small but ver­sat­ile; key play­ers in the mar­ine ni­tro­gen cycle can util­ize cy­anate and urea
10.12.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Carnegie Mellon researchers probe hydrogen bonds using new technique
10.12.2018 | Carnegie Mellon University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

Im Focus: Substitute for rare earth metal oxides

New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals

Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.

Im Focus: A bit of a stretch... material that thickens as it's pulled

Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.

Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...

Im Focus: The force of the vacuum

Scientists from the Theory Department of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) in Hamburg have shown through theoretical calculations and computer simulations that the force between electrons and lattice distortions in an atomically thin two-dimensional superconductor can be controlled with virtual photons. This could aid the development of new superconductors for energy-saving devices and many other technical applications.

The vacuum is not empty. It may sound like magic to laypeople but it has occupied physicists since the birth of quantum mechanics.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
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

Expert Panel on the Future of HPC in Engineering

03.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Small but ver­sat­ile; key play­ers in the mar­ine ni­tro­gen cycle can util­ize cy­anate and urea

10.12.2018 | Life Sciences

New method gives microscope a boost in resolution

10.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Carnegie Mellon researchers probe hydrogen bonds using new technique

10.12.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>