Navigation Links
Researchers identify how zinc regulates a key enzyme involved in cell death

The molecular details of how zinc, an essential trace element of human metabolism, interacts with the enzyme caspase-3, which is central to apoptosis or cell death, have been elucidated in a new study led by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University. The study is featured on the cover of the April issue of the journal Angewandte Chemie's International Edition.

Dysregulation of apoptosis is implicated in cancer and neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer's disease. Zinc is known to affect the process by inhibiting the activity of caspases, which are important drug targets for the treatment of the above conditions. The findings may help researchers design therapeutic agents that target zinc-caspase interaction to specifically control the activity of caspases, and hence, apoptosis.

"The work is unique in helping to open up a broad new area of research which we call the bioinorganic chemistry of apoptosis understanding the role of essential metal ions in one of life's fundamental processes," said corresponding author Nicholas P. Farrell, Ph.D., member of the Developmental Therapeutics program at VCU Massey Cancer Center and professor of chemistry in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences.

"Indeed, the zinc inhibition of apoptosis in fact contrasts with the role of its closely related neighbor copper, which is understood to enhance apoptosis," he said.

In the study, Farrell and his research team, A. Gerard Daniel, Ph.D., and Erica J. Peterson, used conventional enzymology and biophysical techniques combined with state-of-the-art computational methods, to show evidence for a hitherto unrecognized interaction site with caspase-3.

According to Farrell, caspases were discovered in the mid-1990s. There are 11 caspases known humans, and seven of these are involved in cell death. The study suggests a regulatory zinc site that may be common to all caspases. Previous findings have shown other zinc binding sites in caspase-6 and -9. Now, Farrell said, the generality of the team's observations must be extended and verified in other caspases.

"The [journal] cover epitomizes the contrasting but interdependent roles of the metal ions copper/zinc in the regulation of apoptosis and perfectly captures the duality of this most fundamental of biological processes," Farrell said.


Contact: Sathya Achia Abraham
Virginia Commonwealth University

Related biology news :

1. Study by UC Santa Barbara researchers suggests that bacteria communicate by touch
2. UC Santa Barbara researchers discover genetic link between visual pathways of hydras and humans
3. Researchers attempt to solve problems of antibiotic resistance and bee deaths in one
4. UNH researchers find African farmers need better climate change data to improve farming practices
5. Ottawa researchers to lead world-first clinical trial of stem cell therapy for septic shock
6. Researchers uncover molecular pathway through which common yeast becomes fungal pathogen
7. Researchers print live cells with a standard inkjet printer
8. Columbia Engineering and Penn researchers increase speed of single-molecule measurements
9. Researchers reveal how a single gene mutation leads to uncontrolled obesity
10. Researchers discover novel therapy for Crohns disease
11. New paper by Notre Dame researchers describes method for cleaning up nuclear waste
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/9/2016)... Elevay is currently known as ... for high net worth professionals seeking travel for work ... world, there is still no substitute for a face-to-face ... your deal with a firm handshake. This is why ... of citizenship via investment programs like those offered by ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ...  report to their offering.  , ,     (Logo: ... forecast the global multimodal biometrics market to grow ... 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is being implemented ... healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government for controlling ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients ... a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a ... the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key ... body mass index, and, when they opt in, share ... visit to a local retail location at no cost. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona combed medical journal articles ... findings are the subject of a new article on the Surviving Mesothelioma website. ... blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that can help point doctors to ...
(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 ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed a ... serve as their official health care provider. As ... provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and most ... athletes and families. "We are excited ... to bring Houston Methodist quality services and programs ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university ... to harness living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning ... New York City . ... showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the ... MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and design, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: