Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ancient Protein Offers Clues To Killer Condition

Date:
May 13, 2008
Source:
University of Leeds
Summary:
More than 600 million years of evolution has taken two unlikely distant cousins -- turkeys and scallops -- down very different physical paths from a common ancestor. But researchers have found that a motor protein, myosin 2, remains structurally identical in both creatures.

More than 600 million years of evolution has taken two unlikely distant cousins -- turkeys and scallops - down very different physical paths from a common ancestor. But University of Leeds researchers have found that a motor protein, myosin 2, remains structurally identical in both creatures.

The discovery suggests that the tiny motor protein is much more important than previously thought -- and for humans it may even hold a key to understanding potentially fatal conditions such as aneurisms.

Says Professor Knight of the University's Faculty of Biological Sciences: "This is an astonishing discovery. Myosin 2's function is to make the smooth muscle in internal organs tense and relax involuntarily. These creatures have completely different regulatory mechanisms: the myosin in a turkey's gizzards allows it to 'chew' food in the absence of teeth, while that in a scallop enables it to swim. Yet they have exactly the same structure."

Myosin molecules generate tension in smooth muscle by adhering to form a filament, which grabs hold of a neighbouring filament, and relaxes by letting go. When the muscle is in a relaxed state, myosin molecule folds itself up into a compact structure.

This folded structure allows the smooth muscles to adjust to being different lengths so they can operate over a large distance, such as the bladder or the uterus expanding and contracting. In contrast, skeletal muscles operate over a narrow range, defined by how much joints can move.

Professor Knight says: "We were puzzled to find that the scallop's myosin 2 had retained its ability to fold and unfold, as they don't need to accommodate a large range of movement. After all, the scallop only moves its shell a little when it swims.

"In evolution, if something is not essential to the survival of an organism, it is not conserved. The fact that the scallop has retained all the functions of its myosin 2 over hundreds of millions of years tells us that this folding is of fundamental functional importance in muscle and that we don't know as much about it as we need to know."

In humans, any changes in the composition of myosin within the muscles can be fatal. For example, a swelling in the walls of an artery can cause a brain aneurism, while an enlarged heart can lead to cardiac arrest in a young, fit person.

Says Professor Knight: "Because these malfunctions occur in our internal organs, we are often unaware of what is going wrong until it's too late. Learning how to control myosin, how to move it around without disturbing the delicate balance between filaments and individual molecules, is an emerging area and one we are only just beginning to tackle."

The research is funded by BBSRC.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. H. S. Jung, S. A. Burgess, N. Billington, M. Colegrave, H. Patel, J. M. Chalovich, P. D. Chantler, P. J. Knight. Conservation of the regulated structure of folded myosin 2 in species separated by at least 600 million years of independent evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2008; 105 (16): 6022 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0707846105

Cite This Page:

University of Leeds. "Ancient Protein Offers Clues To Killer Condition." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080512105736.htm>.
University of Leeds. (2008, May 13). Ancient Protein Offers Clues To Killer Condition. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080512105736.htm
University of Leeds. "Ancient Protein Offers Clues To Killer Condition." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080512105736.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) 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:
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