Navigation Links
Unusual protein helps regulate key cell communication pathway
Date:4/23/2012

Tiny pores, or channels, embedded in cell membranes are critical to the healthy functioning of cells. Charged atoms, or ions, move through these channels to generate the electrical signals that allow cells to communicate with one another.

New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis unveils some of the inner workings of certain channels involved in regulating electrical signals in nerve cells, relaxing muscle cells and "tuning" hair cells in the inner ear.

In a report published April 22 in the advance online edition of the journal Nature, the scientists have shown how an unusual protein one lacking any definable structure plays a key role in temporarily blocking the movement of ions through these channels after a cell fires off an electrical signal. Preventing ions from moving through the channel is important because it gives cells time to recharge so that they can continue firing.

The researchers studied large potassium channels, called BK channels, which allow potassium ions to move in and out of cells. Looking at the channels gave the Washington University researchers an opportunity to see how so-called intrinsically disordered proteins can operate in cells.

They found that an intrinsically disordered protein was responsible for inactivating the BK channel. These proteins are of particular interest to scientists because they defy the long-held notion that a protein's precise 3-dimensional form determines its function.

Lingle, a professor of anesthesiology and of neurobiology, and his colleagues monitored the electrical activity of BK channels as they opened and closed. Despite the disordered nature of the unstructured protein that closes the channel, the researchers found that it nestles into a receptor inside the BK channel in a highly specific way. This lock-and-key mechanism is essential to closing, or inactivating, the channel.

"It's a two-step process, which distinguishes it from most other inactivation mechanisms that have been described," Lingle says. "My guess is that the part of the protein that binds to the potassium channel receptor may have to move through some very narrow spaces. It may be that by having a less-defined structure, the protein can navigate more easily through tight spaces and to get to the binding site."

Lingle and his colleagues are currently attempting to study how the channels behave in mouse cells to learn more about the physiological effects of BK channel behavior.

Problems in regulating BK channels are known to be involved in epilepsy, asthma and cardiovascular disease. A better understanding of the way those channels operate might help scientists think about new ways to treat these conditions and determine why the disordered protein domains that regulate these channels don't have a well-defined structure.


'/>"/>
Contact: Jim Dryden
jdryden@wustl.edu
314-286-0110
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. For People With Diabetes, Pets May Pose Unusual Hazards
2. Unusual treatment of colonic perforation
3. Study links long-term use of osteoporosis drugs to unusual fractures
4. Unusual Place to Find Peace, Bliss and Explore Life's Mysteries
5. Specific protein triggers changes in neurons in brain reward center linked to cocaine addiction
6. Warwick scientists uncover how checkpoint proteins bind chromosomes
7. PI3K/mTOR pathway proteins tied to poor prognosis in breast cancer
8. New discovery of proteins involved in positioning muscular nuclei
9. Tracking proteins behaving badly provides insights for treatments of brain diseases
10. A supercharged protein reduces damage from heart attack
11. Mapping of protein inhibitors facilitates development of tailor-made anticancer agents
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Unusual protein helps regulate key cell communication pathway
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... Rijuven Corp launches rejiva ( http://www.rejiva.com ), a ... No other wearable health technology on the market can deliver all that rejiva can. ... meaningful insights about their health than the usual heart rate and steps taken”, adds ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... 02, 2016 , ... On November 24th, 2016, Thanksgiving morning, ... different sites throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties. This is the largest meal delivery ... Thanksgiving morning by putting together individual meals via assembly lines and passing them ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... November 30, 2016 , ... ... that we have been designated as a Cigna Infertility Center of Excellence. The ... performance standards. , “It’s an honor to be designated a Cigna Infertility ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... Gardens, FL (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2016 ... ... eating disorder and mental health treatment has announced the opening of a new ... specialized partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient treatment for adults and adolescents, both males ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... Austin, TX (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2016 ... ... like to remind the clinical research community that the FDA Binding Guidance goes ... submit data in FDA-supported formats listed in the FDA Data Standards Catalog. The ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... 2, 2016 On Thursday, December ... excellence in research, development and innovation in the biopharmaceutical ... was held in the presence of Sergey Tsyb, Vice ... Russian Federation , Natalia Sanina, First Vice Chairman ... , Head of Roszdravnadzor, National Service of Control in ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... Dec. 2, 2016 CVS Health Corporation (NYSE: ... Day in New York City on Thursday, December 15, 2016, beginning at 8:00 ... team will provide an in-depth review of the company,s ... The company will also discuss 2017 earnings guidance during ... of the event will be broadcast simultaneously on the ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... YORK , December 2, 2016 ... the trading session in red, while the Dow Jones Industrial ... at the close of US markets, which prompted Stock-callers this ... stocks: NuVasive Inc. (NASDAQ: NUVA ), Smith & ... (NASDAQ: NXTM ), and Cesca Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: