Researchers at IRB Barcelona have completed the 3D structural sequence adopted by several essential proteins in the exchange of substances between the extra and intracellular milieu. This finding provides a global perspective of the structural changes that occur in these relevant proteins during basic cell processes, such as protein synthesis, the regulation of metabolism and cell volume, and nerve transmission.
The exchange of substances between the intra and extra cellular environment is performed by transporter proteins located in cell membranes. These proteins act as selective gates, allowing substances to pass through depending on cell requirements. In humans, transporters like LAT and CAT are particularly relevant as they mediate amino acid transport and are crucial in intestinal absorption and renal reabsorption, protein synthesis, the maintenance of antioxidants, and infection produced by the virus associated with Kaposi sarcoma. According to Manuel Palacn, one of the project coordinators, 300 transporter mutations have been identified in diseases. Consequently, understanding their function is crucial for the development of new pharmacological treatments.
Structural biology as the base from which to study human disease
Having achieved the sequencing of genomes, one of the challenges in biomedicine is to identify the 3D structures of proteins that are crucial for life, such as intra and extracellular transporters. LATs and CATs move within cell membranes, adopting distinct conformations that allow the passage of molecules across the membrane. In this study the scientists have addressed the distinct conformations of the AdiC transporter, a model protein for the study of human LAT and CAT and present in the bacteria Escherichia coli.
By generating crystals of an AdiC variant (mutant N101A) and later X-ray study, researchers have determined for the first time the 3D structures of this protein when binding a molecule fr
|Contact: Nuria Noriega|
Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)