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 July 28, 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 July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
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