Navigation Links
Decoding Protein Structures Helps Illuminate Cause of Diabetes

Any photographer can vouch for the difficulty of capturing a clear picture of a moving target .

When it comes to molecules, however, sometimes the motion is exactly what scientists want to see - for example, to understand the pathological protein mis-folding and assembly that seem to underlie a host of human disorders, including diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.

Now, chemists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have designed a powerful analytical tool capable of measuring molecular structures quickly and accurately enough to catch moving proteins in mid-fold and see the shapes of intermediate steps. As described in this week's online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the first applications of the technique offer a glimpse into the contorted form of a human protein that is implicated in type II diabetes.

Pancreatic damage in type II diabetes has been linked to toxic clumps of the protein hIAPP (human islet amyloid polypeptide), which is normally produced by the same cells that make insulin. An unknown trigger prompts the protein to fold into sharp fibers that poke holes in pancreatic cells, killing them.

Though scientists already have a good idea of the healthy 'before' and dangerous 'after' hIAPP structures, the steps in between remain somewhat of a mystery and may hold clues to what drives the transition, says UW-Madison chemistry professor Martin Zanni, who led the new study.

In trying to understand diabetes, 'people have been looking at the fibers, but they should be looking at their formation,' he says. 'Somehow that mechanism is causing holes (in pancreas cells), which cause disease.'

To break down this dynamic process, he adds, 'We need tools that not only allow us to probe the molecular structures, but also look at how the structures change in time.'

Zanni's research group uses a method, known as two-dimensional infrared spectros copy (2-D IR for short), that takes advantage of the restless nature of molecules and atoms.

Though often depicted as static blobs, proteins are more like collections of balls and springs, constantly in motion, and their endless atomic twitching conveys information about their organization, Zanni says. Infrared laser beams can detect the minute vibrations and identify characteristic patterns to deduce protein structures.

A few years ago, Zanni's team built the first device capable of designing infrared laser beams with a computer. The team has now simplified and speeded up the process with an automated version of the 2-D IR technique. As described in the current study, they obtained a single structural scan of hIAPP in less than a second - more than 500 times faster than previously possible.

The speed is crucial for trying to understand a dynamic process like hIAPP mis-folding, Zanni says.

The group now plans to capture series of snapshots during individual folding reactions to identify multiple phases as the proteins convert from an unordered mishmash into flat sheets, then coil into fibers.

'No matter how fast they're moving, we can take pictures of them,' says Zanni. Without their automated method, he says, such experiments would be nearly impossible.

The technique also has potential application in other human diseases that involve protein mis-folding, such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's diseases.

At this time, however, he says the automation of the device itself is a tremendous achievement. 'In time, automated 2-D IR spectroscopy will become a common analytical technique, widely available in university and industrial research laboratories around the world.'


Related medicine news :

1. Decoding the Fungi Genome Will Save Millions of Lives.
2. Decoding the Medicare Code
3. Smell Decoding System In Brain –Research Find
4. Lean Protein Could Be Key to Obesity Drugs
5. Evidence Links Protein Damage to Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinsons and Alzheimers
6. Unravelling the secrets of ‘Huntingtin’ Protein - towards the treatment of ‘Huntingtons’ Disase
7. Unravelling the secrets of ‘Huntingtin’ Protein - towards the treatment of Huntingtins’ Disese
8. Protein in urine foresees heart disease
9. Levels Of Blood Proteins May Help Heart Disease Care
10. Protein signals need for heart surgery
11. Protein and fat improve memory
Post Your Comments:

(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... Altec Products, ... Title Sponsorship of Synergy 2015. The annual WennSoft KEY2ACT user conference will take ... and will unite customers, partners, WennSoft team members and sponsors to facilitate the ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... , ... Tempe Dental Care, a leading Tempe dentists’ office, celebrates offering gentle, ... for more than 5 years. A leading cause of emergency room visits, school ... is not timely. , Sedation dentistry provides an anxiety-free dental experience ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... activities. Yet most people do not breathe correctly. According to T’ai Chi (also ... Steve Lauer, learning to breathe correctly, in concert with the 7,000 year old ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... communities, and the Florida Apartment Association (FAA) has partnered with the Florida Department ... meet the demand. , The FAA Smoke-Free Multifamily Housing Program launched last ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... , ... Curly Hair Solutions® is thrilled to be a ... featuring the newest products and services to hit the market for women. With ... to unveil their recent partnership with Trade Secrets, a leading Canadian beauty retailer. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... Oct. 12, 2015 CorVascular Diagnostics, ... medical technology company that designs and distributes ... it has entered into a collaboration and ... dedicated to producing devices, software and services ... PAD-IQ®, developed and produced by Vasamed, provides ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... St. Paul, Minn. , Oct. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... with it, a need to help integrate these devices ... global leader of ergonomic healthcare mounting and mobility solutions, ... Carts, its lightest cart yet, for a wide array ... StyleView S-Tablet Cart SV10 was developed exclusively for Microsoft ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... 12, 2015 Beginning October 1, 2015 All ... the fastest growing practice management system for therapists, psychologists, ... converts all patient diagnostic codes from the former DSM-4/ICD-9, ... --> --> Therapy Partner has also ... health practitioners to easily understand the conversion to ICD-10 ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: