Navigation Links
Ghost protein leaves fresh tracks in the cell

Spectrin and ankyrin are two essential proteins acting like bricks and mortar to shape and fortify cell membranes. But distinguishing which protein is the brick and which is the mortar has turned out to be difficult. New evidence suggests that spectrin can do both jobs at once.

Ron Dubreuil, associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, reports the finding in the Oct. 23 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology.

Spectrin was first discovered in red blood cells, where it forms a protein scaffold under the cell's membrane. It was named for its ability to maintain the shape of cell "ghosts," which have been emptied of their contents. Ankyrin serves as the mortar that attaches spectrin to the red blood cell membrane.

Dubreuil and his UIC co-workers have spent a decade looking at different types of cells -- mostly epithelial -- trying to learn what cues tell spectrin where to assemble in cells. They use the fruit fly as their test animal because its genetic makeup has many striking similarities to humans.

"In our study, we showed spectrin doesn't have to bind to ankyrin to do its job," said Dubreuil. "This hints at a complexity we never had any idea about in trying to understand how these molecules work."

Dubreuil and his colleagues initially assumed that ankyrin was the key to targeting spectrin in all cells. But research in many laboratories had failed to find a cue for targeting that acted through ankyrin, so Dubreuil reworked his hypothesis.

"We decided to throw out our assumptions and start fresh," he said.

A laboratory fly was genetically engineered so that spectrin could no longer bind to ankyrin -- which, Dubreuil assumed, meant that spectrin should no longer attach to the membrane.

"We thought that was going to kill the function of the protein," he said, "but it didn't affect the ability of the protein to reach its destination at all. The molecule targeted co rrectly to the cell membrane." In fact, the genetically engineered flies often survived to adulthood, while mutants that lacked spectrin altogether died very early in development.

Meanwhile, Dubreuil discovered that another region of spectrin, called the PH domain, unexpectedly played an critical role. Removing the PH domain left spectrin unable to bind to the membrane in certain cells, and those flies died.

Dubreuil's research seeks to clarify how these proteins function in different cells. The hope is that researchers may one day create therapeutic molecules to compensate for genetic lesions in diseases such as hereditary anemia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, cardiac arrhythmia and the degenerative brain disease spinocerebellar ataxia 5.

"As we learn more about mutations involving spectrin and their relationships to human diseases, we're going to have more and more questions about how these mutations affect specific functions of the molecule," he said.


'"/>

Source:University of Illinois at Chicago


Related biology news :

1. New, automated tool successfully classifies and relates proteins in unprecedented way
2. New binding target for oncogenic viral protein
3. Controversial drug shown to act on brain protein to cut alcohol use
4. Timing is everything: First step in protein building revealed
5. UWs Rosetta software to unlock secrets of many human proteins
6. Researchers find how protein allows insects to detect and respond to pheromones
7. Signaling protein builds bigger, better bones in mice
8. Ancient olfaction protein is shared by many bugs, offering new pest control target
9. Automatic extraction of gene/protein biological functions from biomedical text
10. Discovery of key proteins shape could lead to improved bacterial pneumonia vaccine
11. Scientists develop new color-coded test for protein folding
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/2/2016)... , June 2, 2016 The Department ... has awarded the 44 million US Dollar project, for the ... Vehicle Plates including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , ... in the production and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous ... however Decatur was selected for the ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... MINNEAPOLIS , May 20, 2016  VoiceIt ... technology partnership with VoicePass. By working ... user experience.  Because VoiceIt and VoicePass take slightly ... two engines increases both security and usability. ... expressed excitement about this new partnership. ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO and BANGALORE, India ... part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... service provider, today announced a global partnership that ... convenient way to use mobile banking and payment services. ... Mobility is a key innovation area for financial services, but ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona combed medical journal articles ... findings are the subject of a new article on the Surviving Mesothelioma website. ... blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that can help point doctors to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical ... novel compounds designed to target cancer stemness pathways, ... been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. ... of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. ... designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Houston Methodist ... the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as their ... agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, ... connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. ... the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring Houston ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEW YORK , June, 23, 2016  The ... students to envision new ways to harness living systems ... of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York ... more than 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s ... included Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: