Navigation Links
Cellular gates for sodium and calcium controlled by common element of ancient origin
Date:7/1/2014

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have spotted a strong family trait in two distant relatives: The channels that permit entry of sodium and calcium ions into cells turn out to share similar means for regulating ion intake, they say. Both types of channels are critical to life. Having the right concentrations of sodium and calcium ions in cells enables healthy brain communication, heart contraction and many other processes. The new evidence is likely to aid development of drugs for channel-linked diseases ranging from epilepsy to heart ailments to muscle weakness.

"This discovery was long in coming," says David Yue, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Department of Biomedical Engineering. His team's report, which appears in the June 19 issue of the journal Cell, had its genesis in the 1990s with another group's observation that sodium and calcium channels bear a striking resemblance in a small portion of an otherwise very different structure. "It looked like this 'resemblance element' might be a molecular time capsule derived from a primeval ion channel thought to have birthed distinct sodium and calcium channels a billion years ago," Yue says.

For calcium channels, Yue's and other research groups found that the resemblance element supports an important function, preventing the channel from opening when the cellular calcium level gets high. This prevents too much calcium from building up within cells, much like a thermostat controls household temperatures. This calcium control requires a calcium-sensing molecule called calmodulin, which binds to channels within the resemblance element.

The picture for sodium channels, however, was muddier, with different researchers reporting conflicting findings about whether calmodulin and the resemblance element prevent the opening of sodium channels; perhaps the time capsule was damaged over the millenia or was never there.

Manu Ben-Johny, a graduate student in Yue's laboratory, took up the question. "We thought that the conflicting results for sodium channels might be related to difficulties in existing methods to control the calcium concentrations that might affect these channels," Ben-Johny says.

Looking for a new way to approach the problem, Yue's team bound calcium ions in molecular "cages" that could be opened with a flash of light. This enabled them to "smuggle" calcium ions into cells and see what happened to sodium channels when the calcium concentration changed abruptly. They found that, as with calcium channels, increasing calcium concentrations caused calmodulin to bind within the resemblance element of sodium channels and prevent their opening, just as in calcium channels.

The implications of a common control element in sodium and calcium channels are vast, Yue says, including unified understanding of conditions that spring from defects in the calcium control of these channels. In addition, he says, "Researchers have long sought drugs that modulate sodium and calcium channels in new ways. Targeting the common control element offers a new frontier for developing next-generation pharmaceuticals."


'/>"/>

Contact: Shawna Williams
shawna@jhmi.edu
410-955-8236
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Salk scientists open new window into how cancers override cellular growth controls
2. Increased fructose consumption may deplete cellular energy in patients with obesity and diabetes
3. Cellular secrets of plant fatty acid production understood
4. Make or break for cellular tissues
5. A non-invasive intracellular thermometer with fluorescent proteins has been created
6. Groundbreaking discovery of the cellular origin of cervical cancer
7. BUSM study shows role of cellular protein in regulation of binge eating
8. Stealthy microscopy method visualizes E. coli sub-cellular structure in 3-D
9. Researchers study knee stress at tissue, cellular levels
10. Division of labor offers insight into the evolution of multicellular life
11. Newly demonstrated capabilities of low-powered nanotweezers may benefit cellular-level studies
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Cellular gates for sodium and calcium controlled by common element of ancient origin
(Date:2/7/2017)... , Feb. 7, 2017 Zimmer Biomet Holdings, ... musculoskeletal healthcare, will present at the LEERINK Partners 6th ... Palace Hotel on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 10 ... of the presentation can be accessed at http://wsw.com/webcast/leerink28/zbh ... the conference via Zimmer Biomet,s Investor Relations website at ...
(Date:2/6/2017)... DENVER , Feb. 6, 2017 ... national security are driving border authorities to continue ... Acuity reports there are 2143 Automated Border Control ... Kiosks currently deployed at more than 163 ports ... between 2013 to 2016 achieving a combined CAGR ...
(Date:2/3/2017)... , Feb. 3, 2017 A new ... Identity Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) . Designed to fill ... the complex identity market, founding partners Mark Crego ... 35 combined years just in identity expertise that span ... and non-profit leadership. The Crego-Kephart combined expertise has a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/28/2017)... ... February 28, 2017 , ... RoviSys, a leading independent provider ... has joined the Cisco® Digital Solutions Integrator Program. As a member of this ... that addresses Industrial IT and Business IT in manufacturing environments. , John ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... ... February 28, 2017 , ... Over 8,000 recognized rare diseases afflict an ... webinar on March 7, DrugDev will gather international experts to share challenges ... area. , Webinar: Overcoming the Challenges of Rare Disease Clinical Trials, Date: March ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... ... February 28, 2017 , ... ... therapeutics from millions-diverse immune repertoires, today announced a strategic partnership with Trianni, ... engineered to express human antibodies. The partnership will use GigaGen technology to discover ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... LONDON and PHILADELPHIA , ... Pharma"), a privately held biopharmaceutical company focusing on debilitating ... treatment options, today announced that the company joins with ... leaders in patient advocacy and support around the world ... to highlight the unique challenges and needs of the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: