Navigation Links
Structure of cell signaling molecule suggests general on-off switch
Date:4/21/2013

DURHAM, N.C. A three-dimensional image of one of the proteins that serves as an on-off switch as it binds to receptors on the surface of a cell suggests there may be a sort of main power switch that could be tripped. These surface receptors are responsible for helping cells discern light, set the heart racing, or detect pain.

The finding, published online April 21, 2013, in the journal Nature by a research collaboration involving this year's Nobel laureates in chemistry, could help in the development of more effective drugs to switch on or off the cell receptors that regulate nearly every bodily function. Already, up to half of all drugs engage these receptors, including antihistamines and beta blockers, but many of the intricacies of how these important proteins work remain unknown.

"It's important to understand how this extraordinary family of receptors work," said co-author Robert J. Lefkowitz, M.D., James B. Duke Professor of Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. "This is the kind of finding that answers a basic curiosity, but can also be of benefit if we can develop new drugs or improve the ones we have."

The research marks a collaborative reunion between Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka, M.D., chair of molecular and cellular physiology at Stanford University School of Medicine. The two researchers friends who first collaborated when Kobilka was a trainee in Lefkowitz's laboratory at Duke - shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discoveries involving the G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), which are activated by signaling proteins to detect hormones, neurotransmitters, pain, light.

In the current work, the researchers used X-ray crystallography to develop an atom-scale image of one of the principal signaling molecules that regulate GPCRs. This protein is called beta-arrestin1, which, among other things, works to dim a cell's response to hormones such as adrenalin.

The researchers were able to isolate and capture the beta-arrestin1 protein in an active state as it binds to a segment of the GPCR a first. That snapshot, in high resolution, revealed that the structural conformation or shape of the protein in its active state is strikingly different than when it is inactive.

Such changes suggest there may be a general molecular mechanism that activates the beta-arrestin1 a sort of main switch that controls the multi-functional signaling proteins.

"It's like there are brakes on in beta-arrestin1, and then when the beta-arrestin1 binds to a GPCR, the brakes are released, thereby activating beta-arrestin1," said Arun K. Shukla, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at Duke and co-lead author of the study.

The researchers are now pursuing additional structural imaging of the signaling complex consisting of beta-arrestin1 and the entire receptor protein.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sarah Avery
sarah.avery@duke.edu
919-660-1306
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study led by NUS researchers proves the existence of 3 overstretched DNA structures
2. Mainz scientists confirm original tetrahedral model of the molecular structure of water
3. A*STAR scientists groundbreaking discovery of nucleus structure crucial to understanding diseases
4. Newly discovered plant structure may lead to improved biofuel processing
5. Nanostructures with living cells
6. Protein structure: Immune system foiled by a hairpin
7. Novel technique reveals dynamics of telomere DNA structure
8. Scientists discover structure of protein essential for quality control, nerve function
9. Banded mongooses structure monosyllabic sounds in a similar way to humans
10. New study defines the long-sought structure of a protein necessary for cell-cell interaction
11. Nanoengineers can print 3D microstructures in mere seconds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/15/2016)... , June 15, 2016 ... report titled "Gesture Recognition Market by Application Market - Global Industry ... - 2024". According to the report, the  global gesture ... in 2015 and is estimated to grow at ... billion by 2024.  Increasing application of ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... 7, 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio ... that includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" ... collaboration will result in greater convenience for SACU ... while maintaining existing document workflow and compliance requirements. ... Highlights: ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... , June 2, 2016   The Weather Company ... announcing Watson Ads, an industry-first capability in which consumers will ... being able to ask questions via voice or text and ... Marketers have long sought an ... consumer, that can be personal, relevant and valuable; and can ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in ... peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a new article on ... biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics ... development and commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class ... Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an exciting ... significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... MONICA, Calif. , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation ... pioneer increasingly precise treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the ... institutions across 15 countries. Read More About the Class ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, today announced that Dr. Hays ... DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , “I am thrilled that Dr. Young ... DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a scientific integrator, Hays brings a wealth ...
Breaking Biology Technology: