Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Molecule May Help Boost "Good Cholesterol"

Date:
December 28, 1997
Source:
Southern Research Institute
Summary:
For the first time ever, cardiovascular disease researchers can now get a good look at human apolipoprotein A-I (apo A-I) — the major protein component of high density lipoprotein (HDL). Scientists caution that while these results may not immediately lead to a new medication to control cholesterol, another very important piece in the puzzle has been revealed in the fight against heart disease.

Birmingham, Ala. — For the first time ever, cardiovascular disease researchers can now get a good look at human apolipoprotein A-I (apo A-I) — the major protein component of high density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL is known as the "good cholesterol" because it protects against heart disease, the country's leading cause of death. Scientists caution that while these results may not immediately lead to a new medication to control cholesterol, another very important piece in the puzzle has been revealed in the fight against heart disease.

"A lot of science is done ‘under the lamp post,' so to speak," says David W. Borhani, Ph.D., a chemist at Southern Research Institute in Birmingham and leader of the apo A-I crystallography project. "Our new apo A-I structure has made that light a whole lot brighter now — giving researchers a clear picture to focus on."

In a paper recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, researchers at Southern Research Institute (SRI) and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) describe how they determined the three-dimensional structure of apo A-I using x-ray crystallography — a method widely used to study the structures of biological macromolecules at atomic resolution. X-ray crystallography is also being used increasingly in rational drug design.

The new apo A-I structure is the result of a collaboration between Southern Research's Borhani and UAB professors Jeffrey A. Engler, Ph.D. and Christie G. Brouillette, Ph.D., and their graduate student Danise P. Rodgers, Ph.D.

Scientists have studied lipoproteins — such as HDL — for decades hoping to advance cardiovascular disease research and drug development. Human clinical trials have shown that the higher the HDL level in a person's blood, the lower the risk of developing atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. Understanding the structure of apo A-I is key to understanding this protective effect of HDL.

The Birmingham apo A-I model is important because it suggests what apo A-I looks like when bound to lipid in the HDL particle. As the researchers began to define this egg-shaped model, they realized its potential impact on the future of cardiovascular studies. "We began to call it our ‘Fabergι Egg'," said Engler, the team's molecular biologist, "because it was so rare and valuable."

Until now, scientists studying apo A-I have had to rely on educated guesses about the three-dimensional structure of this critical component of HDL. These guesses — or models — focused on two possible alternative structures: the "belt" model and the "picket fence" model.

The apo A-I structure determined by Borhani and colleagues strongly suggests that the "belt" model is correct and provides even more details about this model. "There are gaps in our understanding of how HDL works," said Borhani. "But studying this three-dimensional structure of apo A-I is an important step toward understanding the beneficial role HDL plays in preventing heart disease." — 30—


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Southern Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Southern Research Institute. "Molecule May Help Boost "Good Cholesterol"." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 December 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/12/971228233648.htm>.
Southern Research Institute. (1997, December 28). Molecule May Help Boost "Good Cholesterol". ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/12/971228233648.htm
Southern Research Institute. "Molecule May Help Boost "Good Cholesterol"." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/12/971228233648.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — As a third American missionary is confirmed to have contracted Ebola in Liberia, doctors on the ground in West Africa fear they're losing the battle against the outbreak. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) — When Facebook acquired the virtual reality hardware developer Oculus VR in March for $2 billion, CEO Mark Zuckerberg hailed the firm's technology as "a new communication platform." Duration: 02:24 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins