Navigation Links
Molecular 'scaffold' could hold key to new dementia treatments
Date:6/3/2014

Researchers at King's College London have discovered how a molecular 'scaffold' which allows key parts of cells to interact, comes apart in dementia and motor neuron disease, revealing a potential new target for drug discovery.

The study, published today in Nature Communications, was funded by the UK Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust, Alzheimer's Research UK and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Researchers looked at two components of cells: mitochondria, the cell 'power houses' which produce energy for the cell; and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) which makes proteins and stores calcium for signalling processes in the cell. ER and mitochondria form close associations and these interactions enable a number of important cell functions. However the mechanism by which ER and mitochondria become linked has not, until now, been fully understood.

Professor Chris Miller, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's and lead author of the paper, says: "At the molecular level, many processes go wrong in dementia and motor neuron disease, and one of the puzzles we're faced with is whether there is a common pathway connecting these different processes. Our study suggests that the loosening of this 'scaffold' between the mitochondria and ER in the cell may be a key process in neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia or motor neuron disease."

By studying cells in a dish, the researchers discovered that an ER protein called VAPB binds to a mitochondrial protein called PTPIP51, to form a 'scaffold' enabling ER and mitochondria to form close associations. In fact, by increasing the levels of VAPB and PTPIP51, mitochondria and ER re-organised themselves to form tighter bonds.

Many of the cell's functions that are controlled by ER-mitochondria associations are disrupted in neurodegenerative diseases, so the researchers studied how the strength of this 'scaffold' was affected in these diseases. TPD-43 is a protein which is strongly linked to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, a form of motor neuron disease) and Fronto-Temporal Dementia (FTD, the second most common form of dementia), but exactly how the protein causes neurodegeneration is not properly understood.

The researchers studied how TPD-43 affected mouse cells in a dish. They found that higher levels of TPD-43 resulted in a loosening of the scaffold which reduced ER-mitochondria bonds, affecting some important cellular functions that are linked to ALS and FTD.

Professor Miller concludes: "Our findings are important in terms of advancing our understanding of basic biology, but may also provide a potential new target for developing new treatments for these devastating disorders."


'/>"/>

Contact: Seil Collins
seil.collins@kcl.ac.uk
44-207-848-5377
King's College London
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers uncover molecular pathway through which common yeast becomes fungal pathogen
2. Beyond the microscope: Identifying specific cancers using molecular analysis
3. 2012 Forecast for US Molecular Diagnostics Market Now Available From Global Information Inc.
4. 5th Annual Advances in Biomolecular Engineering Symposium
5. PNAS: Precise molecular surgery in the plant genome
6. Molecular spectroscopy tracks living mammalian cells in real time as they differentiate
7. Hitting snooze on the molecular clock: Rabies evolves slower in hibernating bats
8. The activity of a bacterial effector protein seen in molecular detail
9. How bacteria change movement direction in response to oxygen: Molecular interactions unravelled
10. MARC travel award announced for the 2012 GSA Yeast Genetics and Molecular Biology Meeting
11. Highlighting molecular clues to the link between childhood maltreatment and later suicide
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... DUBLIN , Apr. 11, 2017 Research ... Tracking Market 2017-2021" report to their offering. ... The global eye tracking market to grow at ... The report, Global Eye Tracking Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based ... report covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over the ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ:   ... announces the appointment of independent Directors Mr. Robin D. ... Board of Directors, furthering the company,s corporate governance and expertise. ... Gino Pereira , ... forward to their guidance and benefiting from their considerable expertise ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces the launch ... dynamic digital window into the human cell. The website ... deep learning to create predictive models of cell organization, ... suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell Explorer will ... resources created and shared by the Allen Institute for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... , ... At its national board meeting in North Carolina, ARCS® Foundation ... of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected for membership in ARCS Alumni Hall ... 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 06, ... ... years’ experience providing advanced instruments and applications consulting for microscopy and surface ... expertise in application consulting, Nanoscience Analytical offers a broad range of contract ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... The HealthTech ... technology sector at their fourth annual Conference where founders, investors, innovative practitioners and ... the ELEVATE pitch competition showcasing early stage digital health and med tech companies. ...
(Date:10/5/2017)... Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) , ... October 05, 2017 , ... ... of the newest frontiers in human health. Gut Love: You Are My Future, the ... offers an artist’s perspective as it explores the human condition through the lens of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: