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Technology reveals 'lock and key' proteins behind diseases

ue. "Like lock and key, if two proteins interact with one another, it is safe to assume they participate or regulate the same cellular process," explains Stagljar. "Identifying new interactors for ABC transporters may reveal unanticipated aspects of how these transporters function and help researchers gain clues for fighting disease and drug resistance."

Using iMYTH, the Stagljar lab identified six proteins that interact with and presumably communicate with the ABC transporter Ycf1p, a yeast version of the human proteins CFTR and MRP. These newly discovered protein interactors represent novel potential pharmaceutical targets. Through a series of biochemical and genetic tests, the researchers discovered that one of these interactors, Tus1p, regulates Ycf1p transporter function in a completely novel way to stimulate its ability to remove toxins from the cell.

"The more we learn about membrane proteins, the better we can use this knowledge for pharmacological and clinical applications," Stagljar says. "We work by putting together biochemical processes piece by piece like a puzzle. Hopefully soon we will have a complete picture of how many other diseases such as breast cancer, heart diseases, arthritis and schizophrenia are caused by mutations in various human membrane proteins."
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Source:University of Toronto


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