Navigation Links
Scientists call for investigation of mysterious cloud-like collections in cells
Date:9/1/2014

WASHINGTON About 50 years ago, electron microscopy revealed the presence of tiny blob-like structures that form inside cells, move around and disappear. But scientists still don't know what they do even though these shifting cloud-like collections of proteins are believed to be crucial to the life of a cell, and therefore could offer a new approach to disease treatment.

In the Journal of Cell Biology, two researchers are issuing a call to investigators from various backgrounds, from biophysics to cell biology, to focus their attention on the role of these formations for which they coin a new unifying term "assemblages."

"I want to know what these assemblages are doing in Ewing sarcoma, the disease I concentrate on and I would think all other researchers who study human biology would want to know their functions in both health and disease," says Jeffrey Toretsky, MD, professor in the department of oncology and pediatrics at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

So Toretsky partnered with co-author Peter Wright, PhD, professor in the department of integrative structural and computational biology at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., to pull together all the biophysics and protein biochemistry knowledge available on assemblages into a review article. Toretsky also called on the expertise of chemists and physicists from Georgetown University.

The authors say these assemblages are often, but not always, made up of proteins that are intrinsically disordered, meaning that they do not assume a specific shape in order to fit like a lock and key onto other proteins. These intrinsically disordered proteins seem to find each other and then form into gel-like assemblages a process called "phase separation" that can trap and interact with other proteins and even RNA, biological molecules that help decode and regulate genes.

When their work is done whatever that is the assemblages dissolve, Toretsky says.

"It is only in the last five years that researchers have begun recognizing that proteins without fixed structures may have important transitional properties that change based upon their local abundance in cells," he says.

Toretsky suspects that if these assemblages play a role in disease, they could be targeted with a small molecule. "Current drug-discovery dogma suggests that it is very hard to make a small molecule to prevent two structured proteins from interacting. However, small molecules have a greater likelihood of disrupting intrinsically disordered protein-protein interactions," he says.

"This review links together very basic biologic phenomena of protein interaction with the potential for new drug discovery," Toretsky says. "It's an exciting challenge."


'/>"/>

Contact: Karen Teber
km463@georgetown.edu
Georgetown University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Stanford scientists develop gene therapy approach to grow blood vessels in ischemic limbs
2. Queens scientists seek vaccine for Pseudomonas infection
3. Scientists produce eye structures from human blood-derived stem cells
4. American Society of Plant Biologists honors early career women scientists
5. Brandeis scientists win prestigious prize for circadian rhythms research
6. Scientists discover new method of proton transfer
7. Salk scientists open new window into how cancers override cellular growth controls
8. WileyChina.com - Now Featuring Bespoke Pages for China’s Life Scientists
9. Scientists win $2 million to study new pathway in development and maintenance of lymphoma
10. UGA scientists reveal genetic mutation depicted in van Goghs sunflower paintings
11. Genetic mutation depicted in van Goghs sunflower paintings revealed by scientists
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/23/2017)... and ITHACA, N.Y. , June 23, ... University, a leader in dairy research, today announced a ... to help reduce the chances that the global milk ... of this dairy project, Cornell University has become the ... the Food Supply Chain, a food safety initiative that ...
(Date:5/23/2017)...  Hunova, the first robotic gym for the rehabilitation and functional motor ... Genoa, Italy . The first 30 robots will be ... USA . The technology was developed and patented at the ... spin-off Movendo Technology thanks to a 10 million euro investment from entrepreneur ... ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... , May 16, 2017   Bridge ... health organizations, and MD EMR Systems , ... development partner for GE, have established a partnership ... Portal product and the GE Centricity™ products, including ... EMR. These new integrations will ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... The Blavatnik Family ... and six Finalists of the 2017 Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists. ... and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences to honor the excellence ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... States multicenter, prospective clinical study that demonstrates the accuracy of the FebriDx® ... identifying clinically significant acute bacterial and viral respiratory tract infections by testing ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... , ... AMRI, a global contract research, development and manufacturing ... and quality of life, will now be offering its impurity solutions as a ... requirements for all new drug products, including the finalization of ICH M7 earlier ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... At its national board meeting ... I. Sheikh, the co-founder, CEO and chief research scientist of Minnesota-based Advanced Space ... membership in ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame . ASTER Labs is a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: