About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

General On-off Switch Suggests Structure of Cell Signaling Molecule

by Rukmani Krishna on April 26, 2013 at 11:35 PM
Font : A-A+

 General On-off Switch Suggests Structure of Cell Signaling Molecule

There may be a sort of main power switch that could be tripped suggests a three-dimensional image of one of the proteins that serves as an on-off switch as it binds to receptors on the surface of a cell. These surface receptors are responsible for helping cells discern light, set the heart racing, or detect pain.

The finding, published online April 21, 2013, in the journal Nature by a research collaboration involving this year's Nobel laureates in chemistry, could help in the development of more effective drugs to switch on or off the cell receptors that regulate nearly every bodily function. Already, up to half of all drugs engage these receptors, including antihistamines and beta blockers, but many of the intricacies of how these important proteins work remain unknown.

Advertisement

"It's important to understand how this extraordinary family of receptors work," said co-author Robert J. Lefkowitz, M.D., James B. Duke Professor of Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. "This is the kind of finding that answers a basic curiosity, but can also be of benefit if we can develop new drugs or improve the ones we have."

The research marks a collaborative reunion between Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka, M.D., chair of molecular and cellular physiology at Stanford University School of Medicine. The two researchers - friends who first collaborated when Kobilka was a trainee in Lefkowitz's laboratory at Duke - shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discoveries involving the G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), which are activated by signaling proteins to detect hormones, neurotransmitters, pain, light.
Advertisement

In the current work, the researchers used X-ray crystallography to develop an atom-scale image of one of the principal signaling molecules that regulate GPCRs. This protein is called beta-arrestin1, which, among other things, works to dim a cell's response to hormones such as adrenalin.

The researchers were able to isolate and capture the beta-arrestin1 protein in an active state as it binds to a segment of the GPCR - a first. That snapshot, in high resolution, revealed that the structural conformation or shape of the protein in its active state is strikingly different than when it is inactive.

Such changes suggest there may be a general molecular mechanism that activates the beta-arrestin1 - a sort of main switch that controls the multi-functional signaling proteins.

"It's like there are brakes on in beta-arrestin1, and then when the beta-arrestin1 binds to a GPCR, the brakes are released, thereby activating beta-arrestin1," said Arun K. Shukla, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at Duke and co-lead author of the study.

The researchers are now pursuing additional structural imaging of the signaling complex consisting of beta-arrestin1 and the entire receptor protein.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Turmeric: Magic Ingredient to Keep you Healthy in Winter
Top 7 Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene
Healthy and Safer Thanksgiving 2021
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment 

Recommended Reading
Cholesterol
Cholesterol is produced by the body (liver) and is essential for normal body functioning....
High Density Lipoproteins
HDL is a type of Lipoprotein. Lipoproteins, as the name suggests, are a class of biochemical ......
Blood Group Diet
What is right diet for you may be the wrong one for another. The diet that suits you will depend on ...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use