Navigation Links
Rusty worms in the brain

This release is available in German.

Iron is vital to human life; for example, it is a component of hemoglobin, the substance that makes our blood red and supplies our cells with oxygen. However, iron can also cause heavy damage; it is thought that iron deposits in the brain contribute to certain forms of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinsons, Huntington s, and Alzhiemers. A malfunction of the blood transporter transferrin may be to blame. A team led by Peter J. Sadler at the University of Warwick (Coventry, UK) and Sandeep Verma of the Indian Institute of Technology (Kanpur, India) has now been able to show that transferrin can clump together to form wormlike fibrils. As reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie, this process releases rustlike iron particles.

Within the body, iron is present in the form of iron ions with a threefold positive charge (Fe3+) and must always be well wrapped to prevent it from reacting with proteins and causing damage. In blood plasma, iron is carried in the pockets of the iron transport protein transferrin. It only gets unwrapped once it is inside special cellular organelles.

But things can go wrong in this system, as Sadler and his colleagues have now proven. The researchers deposited iron-loaded human transferrin onto various surfaces under conditions that emulate those in living organisms. By using microscopy and electron microscopy, the researchers showed that the proteins aggregate into long wormlike fibrils. These worms have a regular striped pattern; the narrow dark stripes contain something similar to rust. Within the fibrils, the iron ions are no longer properly enclosed; explains Sadler, instead, they aggregate into periodically arranged nanocrystals whose structure seems to be very similar to the iron oxide mineral lepidocrocite.

The researchers suspect that in certain forms of neurodegenerative disease, iron deposits may form in a similar fashion in the brain. Such iron crystals are highly reactive and could lead to the formation of toxic free radicals, which attack and destroy nerve cells. If this assumption can be verified in vivo, agents that hinder the aggregation of transferrin may be the foundation for a new family of drugs.


Contact: Peter J. Sadler

Related biology news :

1. After more than 100 years apart, webworms devastate New Zealand parsnips
2. Snoozing worms help Penn researchers explain the evolution of sleep
3. Worms take the sniff test to reveal sex differences in brain
4. Drug commonly used to treat bipolar disorder dramatically increases lifespan in worms
5. Scientists alter sexual orientation in worms
6. The myth of runners high revisited with brain imaging
7. Brains R Us: Neuroscience and education town hall
8. Advertisers, neuroscientists trace source of emotions in brain
9. Sex differences in the brains serotonin system
10. Book is the first high-resolution digital mouse brain atlas designed for Web applications
11. New MIT tool probes brain circuits
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/12/2015)... -- A golden retriever that stayed healthy despite having the ... a new lead for treating this muscle-wasting disorder, report ... MIT and Harvard and the University of São Paolo ... Cell, pinpoints a protective gene that boosts muscle ... Boston Children,s lab of Lou Kunkel , PhD, ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... , Nov. 10, 2015 ... behavioral biometrics that helps to identify and verify ... Signature is considered as the secure and accurate ... identification of a particular individual because each individual,s ... accurate results especially when dynamic signature of an ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based ... clinical research, is pleased to announce that it has ... as one of only three finalists for a ... and Growing" category. The Tekne Awards honor Minnesota ... technology innovation and leadership. iMedNet™ eClinical ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna ... announced today that the remaining 11,000 post-share consolidation ... Purchase Warrants (the "Series B Warrants") subject to ... exercised on November 23, 2015, which will result ... After giving effect to the issuance of such ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... are paramount. Insertion points for in-line sensors can represent a weak spot where ... InTrac 781/784 series of retractable sensor housings , which are designed to tolerate ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Vancouver, BC (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 ... ... to our customer, OrthoAccel® Technologies, Inc., on being named to Deloitte's 2015 Technology ... Creation Technologies’ Texas facility, OrthoAccel manufactures AcceleDent®, a FDA-cleared, Class II medical device ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. ... the discovery, development and commercialization of first-in-class therapeutics, today ... Officer, is scheduled to present at the 2015 Piper ... a.m. EST, at The Lotte New York Palace Hotel ... . --> . ...
Breaking Biology Technology: