Navigation Links
Scientists identify protein with a crucial role in cell death

Ageing, and the processes of deterioration that go with it, are largely attributable to cells that die off in a controlled manner. Therefore, gaining better understanding of this controlled cell death is very important in the fight against deterioration diseases like dementia.

In this light, researchers from the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) connected to the K.U.Leuven, in collaboration with researchers from the Dulbecco-Telethon Institute hosted by the Veneto Institute of Molecular Medicine in Padua (Italy), have now discovered the function of the PARL protein. By studying mice that are unable to produce PARL, the researchers have discovered the significance of this protein in controlled cell death. An important step toward a good understanding of the ageing processes and of diseases like Parkinson's disease.

The cells' energy suppliers
Every living thing is composed of cells. There are a number of different cell types (brain cells, for example), each with its own particular function. To be able to perform their work, cells need energy. And this is what the mitochondria ?which convert oxygen into the necessary energy ?are responsible for. Given this vital function, scientists have suspected that the inner workings of a cell depend largely on how the mitochondria function. Therefore, it has been suspected that poorly functioning mitochondria can, among other things, lead to a disturbance in brain cells and thus contribute to Parkinson's disease.

A noble stranger...
This starting assumption brought two top researchers together: Bart De Strooper, who has extensive experience in Alzheimer research and is thus also interested in the causes of Parkinson's disease, and Luca Scorrano, who specializes in the functioning and effect of mitochondria. They set out to study PARL, a protein thought to interact with Presenilin, one of the major players in Alzheimer's disease. Previous research had already in dicated that the link between PARL and Presenilin is negligible. It was understood that PARL is important to the cell's mitochondria, but the protein's particular function has remained unknown for a long time.

'Knock-out' mice
To obtain insight into PARL's function, the researchers used mice ?called 'knock-out' mice ?that were no longer able to produce this protein. These mice deteriorated very rapidly ?losing muscular strength after only 4 weeks, which greatly reduced their capacity for breathing ?and, after 8 to 12 weeks, they died. Thus, a lack of PARL leads to weakening of (muscle) cells, a phenomenon that also occurs in the normal ageing process. This result spurred the researchers on to find out the function of PARL.

Controlled cell death
During our lifetime, cells die off in a controlled manner ?a process called apoptosis. In addition to supplying energy, mitochondria also ensure the integration and amplification of apoptosis signaling in the cell. From the research of De Strooper and Scorrano, it turns out that PARL is a key to initiating apoptosis in the mitochondria. Although the mitochondria of the knock-out mice have a normal development and are able to convert oxygen into energy, they have apparently lost their protection against apoptosis, and so the cells die off more quickly. Therefore, PARL plays a crucial role in the cells' dying off process and, consequently, probably also in the origin of diseases of ageing, like Parkinson's disease.


'"/>

Source:VIB, Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology


Related biology news :

1. Scientists ID molecular switch in liver that triggers harmful effects of saturated and trans fats
2. Scientists Replicate Hepatitis C Virus in Laboratory
3. Scientists detect probable genetic cause of some Parkinsons disease cases
4. Scientists find missing enzyme for tuberculosis iron scavenging pathway
5. Scientists seek answers on what activates deadly anthrax spores
6. Yale Scientists Find MicroRNA Regulates Ras Cancer Gene
7. Scientists collaborate to assess health of global environment
8. Scientists decipher genome of fungus that can cause life-threatening infections
9. Scientists discover the cellular roots of graying hair
10. Scientists rid stem cell culture of key animal cells
11. Scientists develop new color-coded test for protein folding
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:2/10/2017)... Feb 10, 2017 Research and ... "Personalized Medicine - Scientific and Commercial Aspects" to ... ... Diagnosis is integrated with therapy for selection of treatment as ... detection and prevention of disease in modern medicine. Biochip/microarray technologies ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... YORK , Feb. 8, 2017 About ... individual,s voice to match it against a stored ... such as pitch, cadence, and tone are compared ... require minimal hardware installation, as most PCs already ... for different transactions. Voice recognition biometrics are most ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... Report Highlights ... The global synthetic-biology market reached nearly $3.9 billion in ... a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.0% through 2021. ... for synthetic biology. - Analyses of global market trends, with ... annual growth rates (CAGRs) through 2021. - Coverage of core ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... AxioMed president, Jake Lubinski, describes ... characteristics when deformed, which is identical to how the human discs work to ... and return to its natural state along a hysteresis curve, exactly like a ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... -- GlobeImmune, Inc. today announced it has entered into a ... of its common stock to NantCell, Inc., a member ... sale of its common stock, NantCell has agreed to ... 200,000 shares, an estimated $2.0 million in value, of ... to enter into this strategic agreement with NantCell," said ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... York , March 23, 2017 According ... plasma products and derivatives market is fragmented due to the presence of ... such as Proliant, Thermo Fisher , and Sigma-Aldrich, compete with ... these three companies, collectively, held more than 76% of this market ... As ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 22, 2017 , ... Researchers face a ... lab samples to full-size tissues, bones, even whole organs to implant in people ... delivers blood deep into the developing tissue. , Current bioengineering techniques, including ...
Breaking Biology Technology: