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:4/28/2016)... India , April 28, 2016 ... Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung SDS, a ... that will provide end customers with a more secure, ... services.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130122/589162 ) , ... services, but it also plays a fundamental part in enabling ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016 First quarter ... (139.9), up 966% compared with the first quarter of 2015 ... totaled SEK 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin was ... (loss: 0.32) Cash flow from operations was SEK 249.9 ... 2016 revenue guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. The ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... India and LONDON ... Infosys Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product ... and Onegini today announced a partnership to integrate ... solutions.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ... to provide their customers enhanced security to access ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... in spinal surgical procedures, today announced the completion of a significant transaction and ... current and future customers and partners. Kohlberg & Company, L.L.C. (“Kohlberg”), a ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... 29, 2016 Elekta is pleased ... to its industry-leading treatment planning software, is available for ... Monaco version 5.11 provides significant performance speed ... speeds up to four times faster than in previous ... industry,s gold standard Monte Carlo ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... As part ... top industry experts, and expanding its LATAM network and logistics capabilities. Enhancements ... to manage their clinical trial projects. , The expansion will provide unmatched clinical ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... , ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... Touch screen mobile devices with fingerprint recognition for secure access, voice recognition for ... a few ways consumers are interacting with biometrics technology today. But if ...
Breaking Biology Technology: