Navigation Links
Proteins behaving badly
Date:2/23/2012

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: http://tinyurl.com/6pg3vbw


'/>"/>

Contact: Ellen R. Weiss
eweiss@biophysics.org
240-290-5606
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/19/2016)... Securus Technologies, a leading provider of civil ... corrections and monitoring, announced today that it has offered ... an independent technology judge determine who has the largest ... telephone calling platform, and the best customer service. ... of what we do – which clearly is not ...
(Date:11/17/2016)... 2016  AIC announces that it has just released a new white paper authored ... scale-out plus high speed data transfer storage solutions. Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161116/440463 ... ... ... Setting up a high performance computing or HPC system ...
(Date:11/15/2016)... , Nov. 15, 2016  Synthetic Biologics, Inc. ... therapeutics focused on the gut microbiome, today announced ... 25,000,000 shares of its common stock and warrants ... at a price to the public of $1.00 ... Synthetic Biologics from the offering, excluding the proceeds, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/6/2016)... AUSTIN, Texas , Dec. 6, 2016 ... Naturopathica for its adoption of arnica ( Arnica ... provides support to ABC,s HerbMedPro database, ... to important scientific and clinical research data on ... 250 popular herbs. Naturopathica, a wellness ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... ... Almac Group, the world’s largest privately-held contract pharmaceutical development and manufacturing organisation, ... a leading biopharma outsourcing company combining a leading CRO and the industry’s ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... Discovering new clues to natural treatments that ... what’s happening in our brains. And searching for keys to our immune systems by ... honored with the 2017 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards by The ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... Symbios Technologies, ... that the company has engaged in a collaborative research partnership with Colorado State ... CSU Office of the Vice President for Research. This agreement is designed to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: