Navigation Links
First atomic-level look at a protein that causes brain disease

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- For the first time, researchers have peered deeply at the atomic level into the protein that causes hereditary cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) -- a disease thought to cause stroke and dementia.

The study pinpointed a tiny portion of the protein molecule that is key to the formation of plaques in blood vessels in the brain.

Ohio State University chemist Christopher Jaroniec and his colleagues report their results this week in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers worldwide are working to understand how certain kinds of proteins, called prions, cause degenerative brain diseases such as CAA. More common prion diseases include bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease), and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. All are incurable and fatal.

Jaroniec understands that any discovery related to prions could raise peoples hopes for a cure, but he emphasized that his study is only a first step towards understanding the structure of the prion for CAA.

This is a very basic study of the structure of the protein, and hopefully it will give other researchers the information they need to perform further studies, and improve our understanding of CAA, he said.

His team partnered with biochemists from Case Western Reserve University, who took a fragment of the human prion protein for CAA and tagged it with chemical markers.

Jaroniec explained that, while the prion protein used in the study is associated with the development of hereditary CAA, it is not infectious.

After the researchers tagged the molecule, they created the right chemical conditions for it to fold into macromolecules called amyloid fibrils.

Researchers know that in the body, these fibrils form plaques that lodge in blood vessel walls in the brain. But nobody has been able to closely examine the molecular structure of CAA fibrils until now.

These fibrils are very large and complex, and so traditional biochemical techniques wont reveal their structure in detail, Jaroniec said.

The assistant professor of chemistry at Ohio State is an expert in a technique that can reveal the structure of such large molecules: solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.

NMR works by tuning into the radio waves emitted by atoms within materials. Every atom emits radio waves at a particular frequency, depending on the types of atoms that surround it.

The NMR technique the chemists used, called magic angle spinning, involves spinning materials at a certain angle with respect to the NMR's magnetic field in order to remove radio interference among the atoms. It offers researchers a clear view of which atoms make up a particular molecule, and how those atoms are arranged.

So after the researchers let the prion proteins fold into amyloid fibrils, they used magic angle spinning NMR to study the fibrils structure.

They searched the NMR signals for the chemical tags that had been planted in the prions. In that way, they were able to determine what parts of the original prion protein were contained within the fibrils.

They found, to their surprise, that some 80 percent of the original prion protein molecule was not present in the fibrils. The fibrils consisted exclusively of the remaining 20 percent -- approximately 29 amino acids, of which two appear to be especially critical to the structure of the molecule.

Other studies have suggested that these two amino acids, numbered 138 and 139, were key to the formation of the CAA fibrils, Jaroniec said. But this study is the first to confirm their importance by studying them at the atomic level.

The researchers are continuing this work, and plan to examine the structure of the fibrils in more detail, as well as other strains of the CAA prion protein.


Contact: Christopher Jaroniec
Ohio State University

Related medicine news :

1. First biomarker discovered that predicts prostate cancer outcome
2. FDA Approves First Anti-Psychotic for Kids
3. Single-incision belly-button surgery to remove kidney performed first at UT Southwestern
4. First study examines newly-licensed RN work attitudes and intentions
5. Glades General Hospital First in Palm Beach County to Provide On-Site Electronic Birth Registration
6. UHW Announces: Antelope Valley Hospital Caregivers and Board Vote to Ratify First Union Contract With SEIU UHW-West
7. Father and Daughter From Tanzania Receive Their First Medical Examination in Newport Beach
8. High and mighty: first common height gene identified by researchers behind obesity gene finding
9. APA Comments on FDAs First Approval of Medication to Treat Pediatric Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder
10. TriWest Creates First-of-its-Kind Partnership to Offer Military Leaders With Grief Support Program
11. Watson Receives First FDA Approval for Manufacturing Product at Its Goa, India Facility
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... A revolution ... the emergency ambulance transport experience for the millions of people who require these ... disrupted the taxi industry through the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has put ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by ... to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from ... the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to a possible lice infestation, ... aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from a human host, and ... necessary one in the event that lice have simply gotten out of control. , As ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and ... their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness at Work Awards took ... the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of 42 businesses to receive ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was ... his family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” ... He would throw rocks at my other children and say he was going to kill ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 The Academy of ... recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies to ... entities that make formulary and coverage decisions, a move ... of new medicines. The recommendations address restrictions ... appear on the drug label, a prohibition that hinders ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... According to a new market ... Needles, Safety Pen Needles), Needle Length (4mm, 5mm, 6mm, ... of Purchase (Retail, Non-Retail) - Trends & Global Forecasts ... market for the forecast period of 2016 to 2021. ... by 2021 from USD 1.65 Billion in 2016, growing ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  MedSource announced today ... its e-clinical software solution of choice.  This latest ... possible value to their clients by offering a ... preferred relationship establishes nowEDC as the EDC platform ... MedSource,s full-service clients.  "nowEDC has long been a ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: