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:

(Date:3/30/2017)... March 30, 2017 Trends, opportunities and forecast ... behavioral), by technology (fingerprint, AFIS, iris recognition, facial recognition, ... others), by end use industry (government and law enforcement, ... and banking, and others), and by region ( ... Asia Pacific , and the Rest ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... PUNE, India , March 28, 2017 ... (Analog, IP, Biometrics), Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), ... Maintenance), Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast to 2022", ... 30.37 Billion in 2016 and is projected to reach ... 15.4% between 2017 and 2022. The base year considered ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... March 24, 2017 The Controller General of Immigration ... Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for ... Continue Reading ... ... Deputy Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... partners with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to improve patient outcomes and quality ... Several trends in analytical testing are being attributed to new regulatory requirements for ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Personal eye wash is a basic first aid supply ... a time. So which eye do you rinse first if a dangerous substance enters both ... Duo Eye Wash with its unique dual eye piece. , “Whether its dirt and ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. 11, 2017 ... London (ICR) and University of ... prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma (MM), in ... nine . The University of Leeds ... by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the testing services ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... SAN DIEGO, CALIF. (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... website as part of its corporate rebranding initiative announced today. The bold new ... broaden its reach, as the company moves into a significant growth period. , It ...
Breaking Biology Technology: