Navigation Links
Cholesterol transporter structure decoded
Date:3/21/2014

This news release is available in German.

The word "cholesterol" is directly linked in most people's minds with high-fat foods, worrying blood test results, and cardiovascular diseases. However, despite its bad reputation, cholesterol is essential to our wellbeing: It stabilizes cell membranes and is a raw material for the production of different hormones in the cell's power plants the mitochondria. Now, for the first time, scientists in Gttingen have solved the high-resolution structure of the molecular transporter TSPO, which introduces cholesterol into mitochondria. This protein also serves as a docking site for diagnostic markers and different drugs, such as Valium. The detailed knowledge of its three-dimensional shape and function opens up new diagnostic and therapeutic perspectives.

Not only are mitochondria the most important energy supplier in living cells. They also produce steroid hormones such as testosterone and oestradiol, which control many processes in the body. The raw material for the production of steroid hormones is cholesterol, which must first be transported into mitochondria across two membranes. This difficult task is carried out by a molecular transport protein named TSPO in the outer mitochondrial membrane. Using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, two teams working with the Gttingen-based scientists Markus Zweckstetter and Stefan Becker have now shown the complex three-dimensional structure of the protein "at work" in atomic detail.

The researchers achieved this methodical breakthrough by applying an ingenious trick: In their experiments, they coupled the transporter to an important diagnostic marker called PK11195; it was this complex that first gave the scientists analyzable results. In fact, the TSPO structure delivers more than just clues about how cholesterol is transported into the mitochondria. "We now also have a much better understanding of how TSPO recognizes and binds to diagnostic markers and drugs", explains Markus Zweckstetter, head of research groups at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, and at the Center for Nanoscale Microscopy and Molecular Physiology of the Brain (CNMPB) at the University Medical Center of Gttingen (UMG).

TSPO has long been successfully used in diagnostics and treatment of a number of diseases. "When the brain is injured or inflamed, its cells produce more TSPO. This fact is used in the diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's", explains Stefan Becker, a protein chemist and Max Planck researcher who works next door to Zweckstetter.

Physicians also use radioactively tagged molecules such as PK11195 to visualize inflamed areas of the brain. A detailed understanding of how TSPO binds to such markers opens up novel paths for diagnostic imaging and could constitute an important step along the way to early detection of such diseases and inflammations.

TSPO also binds several medicinal drugs such as diazepam, also known by the trade name of Valium. Not only is diazepam a widely prescribed sedative; it is also used in the treatment of anxiety and epileptic seizures. The Gttingen researchers hope that detailed information about the transporter's structure will help to develop new TSPO-binding drugs.


'/>"/>
Contact: Markus Zweckstetter
markus.zweckstetter@dzne.de
49-551-201-2220
DZNE - German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Cholesterol study suggests new diagnostic, treatment approach for prostate cancer
2. Strawberries lower cholesterol
3. Cleveland Clinic researchers discover process that turns good cholesterol bad
4. Wayne State cholesterol study shows algal extracts may counter effects of high fat diets
5. High cholesterol fuels the growth and spread of breast cancer
6. Amgen Presents Pooled Analysis Showing AMG 145 Significantly Reduced LDL Cholesterol In Over 1,200 Patients
7. Nordic diet lowers cholesterol, study finds
8. 4 genes indentified that influence levels of bad cholesterol
9. U-M researchers find new way to clear cholesterol from the blood
10. Cholesterol rafts deliver drugs inside cancer cells
11. Researchers find alternative cholesterol-lowering drug for patients who cant tolerate statins
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/22/2016)... and SANDY, Utah , ... which operates the highest sample volume laboratory in ... Genomics and UNIConnect, leaders in clinical sequencing informatics and ... launch of a project to establish the informatics infrastructure ... NSO has been contracted by the Ontario ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... New York , March 15, 2016 ... new market report published by Transparency Market Research "Digital Door ... Trends and Forecast 2015 - 2023," the global digital door ... US$ 731.9 Mn in 2014 and is forecast to grow ... 2023. Growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... , March 11, 2016 http://www.apimages.com ) ... Cross reference: Picture is available at AP Images ( http://www.apimages.com ) ... DERMALOG will be used to produce the new refugee identity cards. ... biometric innovations, at CeBIT in Hanover next ... from DERMALOG will be used to produce the new refugee identity ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)... NEW YORK , April 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... biotechnology acceleration company reports the Company,s CEO  was ... capital titled Accelerators Enter When VCs Fear To ... Life Science Leader magazine is an ... work for everything from emerging biotechs to Big ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... Next week on May ... its first-in-class technologies for tissue stem cell counting and expansion to gene-editing scientists ... Reprogramming & CRISPR-based Genome Engineering in Burlington, Massachusetts. , The attention of most ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , ... April 28, 2016 , ... ... will hold an open house for regional manufacturers at its Maple Grove, Minnesota ... Tsugami, Okuma, Hardinge Group, Chiron and Trumpf. Almost 20 leading suppliers of ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... Shimadzu Scientific ... the Spring 2016 Marijuana Business Conference and Expo. Shimadzu’s high-performance instruments enable laboratories ... and more. Expo attendees can stop by booth 1021 to learn how Shimadzu’s ...
Breaking Biology Technology: