Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Determine Three Dimensional Structure Of Melatonin Producing Enzyme

Date:
February 3, 1999
Source:
NIH-National Institute Of Child Health And Human Development
Summary:
Researchers from two NIH institutes have determined the three-dimensional structure of an enzyme that produces melatonin--a key hormone that regulates the body's internal clock. The accomplishment may lead to the eventual design of drugs to fight jet lag, to help shift workers adjust to variable schedules, and to combat depression.

Researchers from two NIH institutes have determined the three-dimensional structure of an enzyme that produces melatonin--a key hormone that regulates the body's internal clock. The accomplishment may lead to the eventual design of drugs to fight jet lag, to help shift workers adjust to variable schedules, and to combat depression.

The finding, appearing in the January issue of Molecular Cell, represents the first time that the structure of a protein involved in regulating the body's day/night rhythms has been determined.

The authors of the paper were Alison Burgess Hickman and David C. Klein, of the Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and Fred Dyda, of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Briefly, Dr. Klein explained, melatonin is made in the pineal gland of the brain from the brain chemical, serotonin, with the help of two enzymes: arylalkylamine N-acetyl transferase (AA-NAT) and hydroxyindole-O-methyl transferase (HIOMT). AA-NAT appears to be the "melatonin rhythm enzyme," because a large increase in the activity of AA-NAT is responsible for the high levels of melatonin found in the brain and in the bloodstream at night.

Similarly, low levels of melatonin formed during the day reflect low levels of this enzyme. This difference in day and night levels of melatonin is important for setting the body's circadian clock.

In the current paper, the three NIH researchers determined the three dimensional structure of AA-NAT. This advance will allow researchers to more precisely determine how melatonin is produced in response to darkness, and how production is switched off in response to light. In the Molecular Cell paper, the investigators wrote that such knowledge may, in turn, lead to the eventual design of drugs to that would prevent AA-NAT from being produced or destroyed. A drug interfering with AA-NAT production might promote wakefulness, and a drug preventing the enzyme from being degraded might enhance sleep. Similarly, a drug that inhibits AA-NAT might provide a way to elevate brain levels of serotonin, thereby providing a treatment for serotonin-related diseases, such as depression.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH-National Institute Of Child Health And Human Development. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH-National Institute Of Child Health And Human Development. "Researchers Determine Three Dimensional Structure Of Melatonin Producing Enzyme." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 February 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/02/990203083230.htm>.
NIH-National Institute Of Child Health And Human Development. (1999, February 3). Researchers Determine Three Dimensional Structure Of Melatonin Producing Enzyme. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/02/990203083230.htm
NIH-National Institute Of Child Health And Human Development. "Researchers Determine Three Dimensional Structure Of Melatonin Producing Enzyme." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/02/990203083230.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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