Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemists Get Grip On Slippery Lipids

Date:
August 31, 2007
Source:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
Findings on the structure and functions of two proteins that bind with lipids reveal new insight into cell signaling and trafficking mechanisms. The ability of the body's cells to correctly receive and convey signals is crucial to good health. Lipids, or fats, play a critical role in this regulation by providing spaces for proteins to gather and network. They are helped in this process by protein molecules called lipid binding domains. Understanding how these domains work may open up new targets of opportunity for drug development to treat illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and various inflammatory diseases.

The ability of the body's cells to correctly receive and convey signals is crucial to good health.

Lipids, or fats, play a critical role in this regulation by providing spaces for proteins to gather and network. They are helped in this process by protein molecules called lipid binding domains.

Understanding how these domains work may open up new targets of opportunity for drug development to treat illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and various inflammatory diseases.

Studying lipid binding domains is a specialty of Wonhwa Cho, distinguished professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In two recently released papers appearing in the EMBO Journal and the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Cho and his associates describe mechanisms by which a particular binding domain -- the PX or "Phox" -- recognize specific lipids and interact with cell membranes to modulate functions.

"The PX domain can recognize and interact with a large number of lipid molecules and other proteins," said Cho. "We study how particular types of PX domains recognize specific lipids."

In the papers, Cho describes the structure and function PX domains from two proteins, KIF16B and Bem1p, which interact with a class of signaling lipids called phosphoinositides.

"KIF16B-PX domain is a critical component of the regulatory mechanism to modulate the duration of receptor-mediated cell signaling pathways," Cho said. "That's important because both prolonged and shortened signaling pathways will cause problems."

"Bem1p-PX domain is a yeast scaffold protein that's critical for cell polarity. It serves as an excellent model system to study how a scaffold protein goes to the cell membrane in response to a particular lipid signal, and then modulates multiple protein-protein interactions."

Cho's research group pioneered a novel biophysical approach to explain the complex mechanisms by which cellular lipid signals specifically and divergently activate a wide array of lipid binding domains and the proteins harboring these domains during various cellular processes.

"This research may help in development of new types of small molecules and drugs that specifically modulate the signaling and trafficking processes," Cho said. "For example, if a cellular malfunction is caused by over-activation of a particular lipid-mediated pathway, then we can turn off that pathway by developing a compound that interferes with the interaction of the lipid with its binding protein."

Cho's main collaborator in the studies was Roger Williams of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Chicago. "Chemists Get Grip On Slippery Lipids." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070830150017.htm>.
University of Illinois at Chicago. (2007, August 31). Chemists Get Grip On Slippery Lipids. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070830150017.htm
University of Illinois at Chicago. "Chemists Get Grip On Slippery Lipids." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070830150017.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) Two white lion cubs were born in Belgrade zoo three weeks ago. White lions are a rare mutation of a species found in South Africa and some cultures consider them divine. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

AP (Oct. 16, 2014) With hard cider making a hardcore comeback across the country, craft makers are trying to keep up with demand and apple growers are tapping a juicy new revenue stream. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Buzz60 (Oct. 16, 2014) Garfi is one frowny, feisty feline - downright angry! Ko Im (@koimtv) introduces us to the latest animal celebrity taking over the Internet. You can follow more of Garfi's adventures on Twitter (@MeetGarfi) and Facebook (Garfi). Video provided by Buzz60
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


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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