Navigation Links
Proteins behaving badly

San Diego, Calif. Several neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's and ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) are caused when the body's own proteins fold incorrectly, recruit and convert healthy proteins to the misfolded form, and aggregate in large clumps that gum up the works of the nervous system. "For Star Trek fans, this is like the Borg, [a fictional race of cyborgs that abduct and assimilate humans and other species]," says Steven Plotkin, a biophysicist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver who studies the process of protein misfolding.

Plotkin's team has developed an algorithm that can predict which regions of a protein are prone to exposure upon misfolding, and how mutations in the protein and changes in the cellular environment might affect the stability of these vulnerable regions. These predictions help scientists gain a better understanding of protein dynamics, and may one day help in developing treatments to effectively combat currently incurable neurodegenerative diseases. The team will present its findings at the 56th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society (BPS), held Feb. 25-29 in San Diego, Calif.

The algorithm developed by Plotkin's group uses the energy equations of thermodynamics to calculate the likelihood that certain stretches of protein will be displayed when the protein misfolds. Since the exposed regions are specific to the misfolded version of the protein, researchers can use these regions as targets for diagnostic and therapeutic treatments. The algorithm can be adapted for different proteins and predicts several potential target regions for each protein. The group has used it to study neurodegenerative disease-causing proteins as well as misfolded proteins that have been implicated in some cancers.

More recently, the research group used computer simulations to manipulate proteins in a virtual environment, testing out how easy it is for mutated proteins to misfold and propagate. Using this tool has helped the team predict the progression of hereditary ALS disease.

"The fact that we can predict the lifetime of an individual diagnosed with hereditary ALS from simulations of a protein's mechanical properties is something that is both satisfying and that gives one pause," says Plotkin. "We hope that such information might give some clues as to how to develop effective therapies for this disease."

The presentation, "Template-directed protein misfolding in silico and in the cell," is at 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012, in the San Diego Convention Center, Hall FGH. ABSTRACT:


Contact: Ellen R. Weiss
American Institute of Physics

Related biology news :

1. ORNL explores proteins in Yellowstone bacteria for biofuel inspiration
2. Faulty proteins may prove significant in identifying new treatments for ovarian cancer
3. Penn scientists pioneer new method for watching proteins fold
4. Lets do the twist: Spiral proteins are efficient gene delivery agents
5. Control by the matrix: RUB researchers decipher the role of proteins in the cell environment
6. Cellular processing of proteins found in Congolese child birthing tea now revealed
7. Targeted antibacterial proteins may offer antibiotic alternative
8. New technique enables study of challenging proteins
9. So many proteins, so much promise
10. Exercise before and during early pregnancy increases two beneficial proteins for mothers-to-be
11. Scientists discover the proteins that control development of varicose veins
Post Your Comments:
(Date:9/24/2015)... , September 24, 2015 ... september 2015 Kerv ( ... finanstjänster, lanserar idag världens första kontaktlösa betalningsring ... in 77 000 GBP för massproduktion via ... ) , Kerv-bärare kan ...
(Date:9/10/2015)... -- Pursuant Health has collaborated with health experts ... image-based health risk assessment (HRA) optimized for Pursuant ... assessment quantifies user results into an easily understood ... biological age based on personal health habits, characteristics ... Comprised of age, gender, and risk ...
(Date:9/8/2015)... Sept. 8, 2015  Affectiva, global leader in ... a Service, a new data solution, and version ... on Affectiva,s highly accurate and patented science, these ... slated to transform industries such as market research, ... customer experience, online education, HR, automotive, robotics, healthcare ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... , October 12, 2015 cell surface ... billion by 2022, according to a new report by Grand ... to rise in incidence of oncology diseases and other cell-associated ... is expected to reach USD 6.49 billion by 2022, according ... growth in demand can be attributed to rise in incidence ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... CAESAREA, Israel , October 12, 2015 ... of the Dario™ Diabetes Management Solution, today announced its ... a patient case study at MobiHealth,s 5th EAI ... Focused on, "Transforming healthcare through innovations in mobile and ... London, England from October 14 - ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... October 12, 2015 , ... NeuMedics Inc., is a specialty ... diseases that can safely and chronically be administered as an eye drop, announced today ... by The Cleveland Clinic and taking place October 25th to October 28th at The ...
(Date:10/10/2015)... Maryland , 10. Oktober, 2015 ... Matsui (Abgeordnete der Demokratischen Partei für Kalifornien) ihre ... bis 17. Oktober) in die Aufzeichnungen des Kongresses ... Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA) und ihren ... , Hebung des Bewusstseins über Plasmaspenden weltweit ...
Breaking Biology Technology: