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:8/15/2017)...   ivWatch LLC , a medical device company focused on ... receipt of its ISO 13485 Certification, the global standard for medical ... Standardization (ISO®). ... Continuous Monitoring device for the early detection of IV infiltrations. ... "This is an important milestone for ivWatch, as ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ARMONK, N.Y. and ITHACA, N.Y. ... IBM ) and Cornell University, a leader in dairy ... combined with bioinformatics designed to help reduce the chances ... breaches. With the onset of this dairy project, Cornell ... the Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain, a ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... , May 16, 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ... of online age and identity verification solutions, announced today ... Identity Conference 2017, May 15 thru May 17, 2017, ... Building and International Trade Center. Identity ... globe and in today,s quickly evolving digital world, defining ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... Poway, California (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... afternoon speaking at his local San Diego Rotary Club. The event ... San Diego, CA and had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 10, 2017 SomaGenics announced the receipt of ... develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), expected to be the first ... (including microRNAs) from single cells using NGS methods. The ... to accelerate development of approaches to analyze the heterogeneity ... "New techniques for measuring levels of mRNAs in individual ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... The Pittcon Program ... honoring scientists who have made outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry and ... 2018, the world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, which will be ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... , ... The award-winning American Farmer television series will feature 3 Bar Biologics ... at 8:30aET on RFD-TV. , With global population estimates nearing ten billion people ... to feed a growing nation. At the same time, many of our valuable resources ...
Breaking Biology Technology: