Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hydrogen Peroxide Has A Complex Role In Cell Health

Date:
January 4, 2008
Source:
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Summary:
Hydrogen peroxide, the same mild acid that many people use to disinfectant their kitchens or treat cuts and abrasions, is also produced by the body to keep cells healthy. Now, researchers have solved how part of this complex process works.

Hydrogen peroxide, the same mild acid that many people use to disinfectant their kitchens or treat cuts and abrasions, is also produced by the body to keep cells healthy. Now, researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine have solved how part of this complex process works.

Related Articles


Reporting in the January 3 issue of Nature, a team led by W. Todd Lowther, Ph.D., developed a three-dimensional snapshot of how two proteins produced by cells interact to regulate the levels of hydrogen peroxide.

For example, when the immune system is activated in response to bacteria, large amounts of hydrogen peroxide are produced by certain cells to fight the infection. Lowther and colleagues studied how a molecule known as peroxiredoxin (Prx) helps control levels of the agent. The role of Prx is important because if the levels of hydrogen peroxide become too high, the cell's DNA and other proteins can be damaged. Scientists suspect that this and similar processes are what leads to cancer, diabetes and other disease.

Prx actually has a dual role in the process. Its usual job is removing excess hydrogen peroxide from the cells by converting it to water. But if levels get dangerously high -- and Prx needs help -- it becomes inactive in its "converting" job and instead becomes a "signaler," telling the cell to produce or activate other proteins to help remove the excess.

"It basically acts as a sensor and warns the cell that levels are too high and that the cell needs to respond," said Thomas J. Jφnsson, Ph.D., lead author, and a post-doctoral fellow at Wake Forest. "Once that threat is gone, Prx needs to go back to its normal state."

But how does Prx revert back to its usual job and become active again, so that it is available for a new wave of hydrogen peroxide? In 2003, scientists reported that a protein known as sulfiredoxin (Srx) was involved in the process. The goal of Lowther's team was to use X-ray crystallography to learn exactly what happens.

"This technology gives us a three-dimensional snapshot of how the proteins interact," said Lowther. "We wanted to know how Prx changes its structure to be repaired."

The scientists knew that the repair of Prx would involve it binding with Srx. They also knew that the structure of Prx would need to change because the portion of the molecule that is repaired by Srx is initially hidden when it is in the inactive form.

"We found that the protein unfolded, flipped around and attached to the back side of Srx, known as an 'embrace,'" said Lowther. "It basically put its arm around its buddy, which helps hold the repair protein in place."

Jφnsson said the binding of Srx causes a chemical reaction that repairs Prx. "The change in structure is dramatic and we found that it is critical for the repair to take place," he said.

The scientists said that understanding this protective mechanism that keeps cells healthy may one day help reveal how the process goes awry in disease. They will continue the research by studying how the structural change may affect how Prx interacts with other proteins.

The study was supported by the American Heart Association and National Institutes of Health. Lynnette C. Johnson, B.S., with Wake Forest, was a co-researcher.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Hydrogen Peroxide Has A Complex Role In Cell Health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080102134129.htm>.
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. (2008, January 4). Hydrogen Peroxide Has A Complex Role In Cell Health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080102134129.htm
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Hydrogen Peroxide Has A Complex Role In Cell Health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080102134129.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) — For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) — An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) — The Houston Zoo released video of a male baby okapi. Okapis, also known as the "forest giraffe", are native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Video is mute from source. (Nov. 20) Video provided by AP
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