Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Johns Hopkins Lab Scientists Tame Overactive Cystic Fibrosis Protein

Date:
June 29, 2006
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
A team led by Johns Hopkins Children's Center scientists has identified and successfully tamed an overactive protein that plays a key role in cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disorder that interferes with the body's ability to transport chloride in and out of cells.

A team led by Johns Hopkins Children’s Center scientists has identified and successfully tamed an overactive protein that plays a key role in cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disorder that interferes with the body’s ability to transport chloride in and out of cells.

Using a tool called RNA interference on cells in the laboratory, researchers successfully intercepted signals sent out by the rampant protein and prevented cell damage by the protein, effectively restoring the cell to normal.

“The hope is that these findings will be used to design therapies and drugs that go beyond symptom management and actually restore normal cell function to prevent CF,” says senior investigator Pamela Zeitlin, M.D., a pulmonologist at the Children’s Center, although she warned that they are years from developing or testing such treatments in whole animals or people. A report on the work from scientists at the Children’s Center and the University of Maryland appears in the June 23 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

The overactive protein, called VCP/pr 97 (valosin containing protein), kills a chloride transporter in the cells of the vast majority of CF patients, but quieting the protein restores the cells’ ability to transport chloride in and out, researchers found. The inability to transport chloride is the hallmark of CF that causes dangerous buildup of thick, sticky mucous in several organs, including the pancreas and the lungs, leading to malnutrition, chronic lung infections and lung damage.

Cells have a built-in quality-control machinery called ERAD (endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation), which chemically “marks” defective proteins for destruction and sends them to the cell’s waste-disposal complex, called the proteasome. In people with CF, defects in genes for a protein called CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator) interrupt the transport chemistry. Until now, researchers had not identified the precise search-and-destroy proteins that ERAD deploys to seek out the mutant CFTR.

“We were able to confirm that to get rid of the defective CFTR protein, cells deploy VCP/p97 protein, which latches onto the damaged CFTR and sends it to the proteasome for destruction,” Zeitlin says. “Using RNA interference, which basically works by silencing the expression of genes or proteins, we homed in on VCP and blocked its production. That let the defective CFTR to successfully sneak past the quality control and race up to the surface.”

To determine VCP’s role in the destruction of CFTR, researchers compared bronchial cells from CF and non-CF patients. In non-CF cells, the protein’s levels were in check, whereas they were strikingly high in cell samples obtained from CF patients.

Suspecting that inhibiting VCP would spare the chloride-transporting channels from premature demise, the team showed that when the VCP’s level was lowered, it no longer destroyed CFTR.

In a second set of tests, researchers blocked the destruction of CFTR with a proteasome-inhibiting drug currently used to treat multiple myeloma. Silencing the protein by the use of RNA interference was superior to the proteasome inhibitor, researchers found.

Both the drug and RNA interference also staved off inflammation caused by cytokine IL8, which is the main inflammatory chemical produced by CF damaged cells.

“Targeting VCP, we were able to achieve two things at once -- restoring chloride channel function and curbing inflammation” says co-author Neeraj Vij, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at the Children’s Center. “Inhibiting specific sites in VCP can lead to the development of CF drugs.”

“The goal is to develop small molecules that disrupt the binding between the VC protein and CFTR, much like tiny guided missiles that take out portions of this rampant VC protein before it latches onto CFTR,” Zeitlin says.

Authors on the paper are Zeitlin and Vij, of Hopkins, and Shengyun Fang, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Johns Hopkins Lab Scientists Tame Overactive Cystic Fibrosis Protein." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 June 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060629230846.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (2006, June 29). Johns Hopkins Lab Scientists Tame Overactive Cystic Fibrosis Protein. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060629230846.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Johns Hopkins Lab Scientists Tame Overactive Cystic Fibrosis Protein." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060629230846.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. 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