Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mutant Protein Holds Promise For Cell Growth Control

Date:
March 30, 2005
Source:
Hebrew University Of Jerusalem
Summary:
A unique technique for neutralizing the action of the leptin protein in humans and animals – thereby providing a means for controlling and better understanding of leptin function, including its role in unwanted cell growth -- has been developed by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Three-dimensional structure of leptin. The region identified in the picture by numbers as amino acids 39, 40, 41, 42 underwent mutation that converted the normal leptin into an “antagonistic” version.
Credit: Image courtesy of Hebrew University Of Jerusalem

A unique technique for neutralizing the action of the leptin protein in humans and animals – thereby providing a means for controlling and better understanding of leptin function, including its role in unwanted cell growth -- has been developed by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Leptin was discovered ten years ago and has attracted attention first because of its involvement in control of appetite and later by its effect on growth, puberty, digestion and immunological processes. Leptin can also have negative consequences, such as, for example, enhancing the spread of tumorous growths.

In his laboratory at the Hebrew University's Faculty of Agricultural Food and Environmental Quality Sciences in Rehovot, Arieh Gertler, the Karl Bach Professor of Agricultural Biochemistry, along with his students, has developed a technique for genetically engineering mutations of the leptin protein. Prof. Gertler has been assisted in this work by graduate students Dana Gonen-Berger and Leonora Niv-Spector and research assistant Gili Benyehuda.

In experimental work carried out cooperatively with researchers at the Agronomic Research Institute of France and the University of Paris VI, the scientists have developed a model showing which amino acids in leptin are responsible for activating leptin receptors in living cells. By replacing these amino acids with others, they were able to create a leptin variant that could bind with cell receptors, but would be unable to activate them, thereby providing a unique, novel research tool. In this way, the mutated leptin, with the substituted amino acids, acts as an "antagonist," competing with the normal leptin for the "attention" of the cell receptors to which both leptins are attracted. The result is a "standoff" situation in which the normal leptin is neutralized.

Since leptin is involved in several cell functions, the development of this mutated "antagonistic leptin" could have significant consequences not only for better understanding of leptin action in animals but also on halting undesirable leptin effects in humans, such as undesired cell proliferation in cancer, or in controlling other pathological phenomena in which leptin is a factor.

Thus far, the researchers have succeeded in creating antagonists of human, sheep, rat and mouse leptins.

A company, Protein Laboratories Rehovot (PLR), that was formed by Prof. Gertler and the Hebrew University's Yissum Research Development Company 18 months ago, was given the license to produce and market the mutated leptin products. Further development is currently being pursued towards testing whether leptin antagonists are capable of anti-cancer activity. This work is being pursued in cooperation with Prof. Nira Ben-Jonathan of the University of Cincinnati in the U.S., with the assistance of Prof. Gertler's graduate student, Gila Ben Avraham.

Prof. Gertler has presented his work at a symposium of the Israeli Endocrinology Society and most recently at an international biotechnological conference in Miami, Fla., sponsored by the scientific journal Nature.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Hebrew University Of Jerusalem. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Hebrew University Of Jerusalem. "Mutant Protein Holds Promise For Cell Growth Control." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 March 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050325140456.htm>.
Hebrew University Of Jerusalem. (2005, March 30). Mutant Protein Holds Promise For Cell Growth Control. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050325140456.htm
Hebrew University Of Jerusalem. "Mutant Protein Holds Promise For Cell Growth Control." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050325140456.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) The World Health Organizations says TB numbers rose in 2013, but it's partly due to better detection and more survivors. 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:

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