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'Holy powder' ingredient makes membranes behave for better health
Date:3/6/2009

k by interacting directly with membrane proteins, but the U-M findings challenge that notion. Instead, the researchers found that curcumin regulates the action of membrane proteins indirectly, by changing the physical properties of the membrane.

Ramamoorthy's group now is collaborating with chemistry professor Masato Koreeda and U-M Life Sciences Institute researcher Jason Gestwicki to study a variety of curcumin derivatives, some of which have enhanced potency. "We want to see how these various derivatives interact with the membrane, to see if the interactions are the same as what we have observed in the current study," Ramamoorthy said. "Such a comparative study could lead to the development of potent compounds to treat infection and other diseases."

In a related line of research, Ramamoorthy's team is using the same methods to investigate the effects of curcumin on the formation of amyloids---clumps of fibrous protein believed to be involved in type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and many other maladies. In addition, the researchers are looking to see whether other natural products, such as polyphenols (compounds found in many plant foods that are known to have antioxidant properties) and capsaicin (a pain reliever derived from hot peppers), interact with membranes in the same way as curcumin.


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Contact: Nancy Ross-Flanigan
rossflan@umich.edu
734-647-1853
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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