Navigation Links
Columbia scientists determine 3-dimensional structure of cell's 'fuel gauge'

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have uncovered the complex structure of a protein that serves as a central energy gauge for cells, providing crucial details about the molecule necessary for developing useful new therapies for diabetes and possibly obesity. A paper published online today in the journal Science details this structure, helping to explain one of the cell's most basic and critical processes.

"Understanding this important protein's molecular structure and mechanism provides a major step forward for the rational design of new drugs to target diabetes and obesity," said Lawrence Shapiro, Ph.D., associate professor of Biochemistry and Jules and Doris Stein Professor of Research to Prevent Blindness at Columbia University Medical Center, and senior author of the paper.

The protein, known as AMP-activated protein kinase or AMPK, controls metabolic decisions of cells. For example, it controls the decision regarding whether fat is stored or burned, based on the amount of energy in the cell. When the energy level of a cell is high, meaning that the cell contains high amounts of an energy-carrying molecule known as ATP, AMPK directs cells toward "anabolic" activities like storing the extra energy as fat. When ATP is low, AMPK turns off anabolic activities, and activates "catabolic" functions, like burning fat to make energy.

AMPK provides an especially promising drug target for people with type 2 diabetes. These patients are insulin-resistant, meaning that their cells are not responsive to insulin which normally helps glucose get out of the bloodstream, where it does damage, and into cells. When AMPK detects low levels of ATP in the cell, it works through a different mechanism to increase how much glucose the cell takes in and uses to create ATP. Research in rodent models has shown that AMPK activators can lessen the pathologies associated with diabetes, including problems that diabetics have regulating blood su gar.

Dr. Shapiro explained that researchers do not yet know how to activate AMPK without activating other proteins and causing potentially toxic side effects. However, he notes that this development in understanding the atomic resolution structure of the protein provides researchers a powerful new tool for the design of useful therapeutics.
'"/>

Source:Columbia University Medical Center


Related biology news :

1. Columbia research lifts major hurdle to gene therapy for cancer
2. Columbia study shows widely used artery clearing device does not help patients during heart attack
3. Columbia scientists develop cancer terminator viruses
4. Contaminants linked to sturgeon decline in Columbia river
5. Columbia University licenses next-generation DNA sequencing technology
6. New bird discovered on unexplored Columbian mountain
7. Wisconsin scientists grow critical nerve cells
8. UCSB scientists probe sea floor venting to gain understanding of early life on Earth
9. UAB scientists discover the origin of a mysterious physical force
10. Fox Chase Cancer Center scientists identify immune-system mutation
11. Weizmann Institute scientists develop a new approach for directing treatment to metastasized prostate cancer in the bones.

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/16/2017)... 16, 2017 CeBIT 2017 - Against identity fraud with DERMALOG solutions ... ... Used combined in one project, multi-biometric solutions provide a crucial contribution against ... Used combined in one project, ... ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... FRANCISCO and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. ... , "Eating Well Made Simple," and 23andMe , ... help guide better food choices.  Zipongo can now provide ... their food preferences, health goals and biometrics, but also ... certain food choices. Zipongo,s personalized food decision ...
(Date:3/6/2017)... 2017 Mintigo , the leader ... Predictive Sales Coach TM , its new artificial ... into Salesforce. This unique AI application will allow ... with deep knowledge of their customers and prospects ... Predictive Sales Coach extends Mintigo,s existing customer success ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/27/2017)... ... March 27, 2017 , ... A ... and customizable vascular grafts in JoVE’s Video Journal, the world’s first peer-reviewed scientific ... improved ways of treating coronary artery disease (CAD). Lam is an assistant professor ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... MiMedx Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: MDXG), the leading ... allografts and patent-protected processes to develop and market advanced ... today  that it will present at the Needham Healthcare ... Parker H. "Pete" Petit, Chairman and CEO, Michael ... Cashman , EVP and Chief Commercialization Officer, and ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... On Thursday, March 23, 2017, ... down 0.07%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.02% ... closed at 2,345.96, marginally dropping 0.11%. US markets saw ... 4 sectors finished in red, and 1 sector ended ... reports coverage on the following Biotechnology equities: BioDelivery Sciences ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2017 , ... Lajollacooks4u is proud to announce it has ... has hosted corporate cooking challenges for companies around the world, such as Illumina, HP and ... of the reason for its increasing popularity is due to its new team building format, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: