Navigation Links
New mechanism for protein misfolding may link to ALS
Date:9/28/2013

Proteins play important roles in the human body, particularly neuroproteins that maintain proper brain function.

Brain diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's are known as "tangle diseases" because they are characterized by misfolded and tangled proteins which accumulate in the brain.

A team of Australian and American scientists discovered that an unusual amino acid called BMAA can be inserted into neuroproteins, causing them to misfold and aggregate. BMAA is produced by cyanobacteria, photosynthetic bacteria that form scums or mats in polluted lakes or estuaries.

BMAA has been detected in the brain tissues of ALS patients.

In an article published in PLOS ONE scientists at the University of Technology Sydney and the Institute for Ethnomedicine in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, report that BMAA mimics a dietary aminoacid, L-Serine, and is mistakenly incorporated into neuroproteins, causing the proteins to misfold. The misfolded proteins build up in cells, eventually killing them.

"We found that BMAA inserts itself by seizing the transfer RNA for L-Serine. This, in essence, puts a kink in the protein causing it to misfold," says lead author Dr. Rachael Dunlop, a cell biologist in Sydney working in the laboratory of Dr. Ken Rodgers.

"The cells then begin programmed cell death, called apoptosis. "Even more importantly, the scientists found that extra L-Serine added to the cell culture can prevent the insertion of BMAA into neuroproteins. The possibility that L-Serine could be used to prevent or slow ALS is now being studied."

Even though L-serine occurs in our diet, its safety and efficacy for ALS patients should be properly determined through FDA-approved clinical trials before anyone advocates its use," says American co-author Dr. Paul Cox.

In ALS, motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord die, progressively paralyzing the body until even swallowing and breathing becomes impossible.

The disease is relatively rare but has affected a number of high-profile people including Professor Stephen Hawking and Yankee baseball player Lou Gehrig.

"For many years scientists have linked BMAA to an increased risk of motor neuron disease but the missing pieces of the puzzle relate to how this might occur. Finally, we have one of those pieces," said Dr Sandra Banack, a co-author on the paper.


'/>"/>

Contact: Marilyn Asay
marilyn@ethnomedicine.org
801-375-6214
University of Technology Sydney
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Mechanism for Burgess Shale-type preservation
2. New insight into mechanisms behind autoimmune diseases suggests a potential therapy
3. Unexpected discovery reveals a new mechanism for how the cerebellum extracts signal from noise
4. Researchers unravel genetic mechanism of fatty liver disease in obese children
5. Mechanism found connecting metastatic breast cancer and arthritis
6. UF receives $1 million from Keck Foundation to study mechanisms of inherited disease
7. New genetic mechanism of immune deficiency discovered
8. Housekeeping mechanism for brain stem cells discovered
9. Carnegie Mellon fluorescent biosensor reveals mechanism critical to immune system amplification
10. Researchers find mechanism that gives plants balance
11. New key mechanism in cell division discovered
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/20/2016)... 2016  VoiceIt is excited to announce its ... By working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will ... VoicePass take slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, ... and usability. ... partnership. "This marketing and technology partnership ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider of ... MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , a ... projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex biometric ... combination of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. It ... and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... April 27, 2016 Research ... Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal ... 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal ... sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Rolf K. Hoffmann, ... faculty of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School effective ... at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the school’s international efforts, leading classes ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016  Regular discussions on a range of ... between the two entities said Poloz. Speaking at ... Ottawa , he pointed to the country,s inflation target, ... government. "In certain ... institutions have common economic goals, why not sit down and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in ... peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a new article on ... biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... CAMBRIDGE, Mass. , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... the development of novel compounds designed to target ... compound, napabucasin, has been granted Orphan Drug Designation ... in the treatment of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal ... cancer stemness inhibitor designed to inhibit cancer stemness ...
Breaking Biology Technology: