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Ghost protein leaves fresh tracks in the cell

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.


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Source:University of Illinois at Chicago


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