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A supercharged protein reduces damage from heart attack
Date:3/1/2012

tion from stressed heart cellsbut remained under the control of the mice's natural feedback systems that would shut it off when the crisis passed.

Mice with SuperFAK showed a much stronger FAK response during a heart attack than mice with the natural protein, and three days later had about 50 percent less heart damage. Critically, SuperFAK deactivated at the appropriate time, so the eight-week follow-up revealed no detrimental effects.

The findings offer evidence that, rather than simply activating or de-activating key proteins, researchers can benefit from a more nuanced approach that taps into the body's natural feedback loops. "I think folks could use this idea to exploit mutations in other moleculesby thinking about how to modify the protein so that it can be under natural controls," said Taylor. "Negative feedback loops are important because they 'reset' the system."

The findings also may help researchers augment FAK in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Some chemotherapy drugs are known to break down FAK, leaving patients' hearts more vulnerable to damage.


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Contact: Les Lang
llang@med.unc.edu
919-966-9366
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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