Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Enzyme Discovery May Lead To Better Heart And Stroke Treatments

Date:
November 20, 2008
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
A new study sheds new light on the way one of our cell enzymes, implicated in causing tissue damage after heart attacks and strokes, is normally kept under control.

Queen's University Biochemistry Ph.D. student Rachel Hanna checks data from one of the university's diffractometers (on the left) while professors Peter Davies and Rob Campbell look on.
Credit: Stephen Wild for Queen's University

A Queen's University study sheds new light on the way one of our cell enzymes, implicated in causing tissue damage after heart attacks and strokes, is normally kept under control.

Led by Biochemistry professor Peter Davies, the research team's discovery will be useful in developing new drug treatments that can aid recovery in stroke and heart disease, as well as lessen the effects of Alzheimer's and other neurologically degenerative diseases.

"This is particularly exciting because the enzyme structure we were seeking – and the way its inhibitor blocks activity without itself being damaged – have proved so elusive until now," says Dr. Davies, Canada Research Chair in Protein Engineering.

In remodeling proteins needed for cell growth and movement, our cells use the enzyme calpain to break off pieces from other proteins. Calpain is activated when the cell releases short bursts of calcium.

During heart attacks or strokes, however, blood supply to cells is interrupted. When the blockage is re-opened, the influx of blood causes calcium levels in the cell to become dangerously high, and the calpain activity to increase. The result is significant damage to tissues. "While you want the enzyme to switch on and off, you don't want it to go out of control," says Biochemistry research associate Rob Campbell, a member of the Queen's team.

The study shows how another protein, calpastatin, binds and blocks calpain once it has been activated by calcium. Dr. Campbell, an x-ray crystallographer, and PhD student Rachel Hanna were able to determine the structure of the calcium-bound calpain and discover how calpastatin can inhibit calpain without being cut and destroyed in the process. That information will be useful in designing drugs to protect against the damage caused by over-activation of calpain.

Because the crystals grown in the lab at Queen's were too small to be used for X-ray diffraction data collection on the university's diffractometer, Dr. Campbell and Ms Hanna booked time on the National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven Long Island (operated by the U.S. Department of Energy).

Working in shifts around the clock, they collected the required data during the first nine of their 48 allotted hours. After another hour, "We knew we had the structure solved," Ms Hanna recalls. "It was really exciting. We immediately sent an e-mail to Peter to say: 'We did it!'"

The study was funded in part by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. Ms Hanna is the recipient of an E.G. Bauman Fellowship and an R.J. Wilson Fellowship.

The team's findings will be published online in the journal, Nature, on Thursday Nov. 20.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "Enzyme Discovery May Lead To Better Heart And Stroke Treatments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081119140710.htm>.
Queen's University. (2008, November 20). Enzyme Discovery May Lead To Better Heart And Stroke Treatments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081119140710.htm
Queen's University. "Enzyme Discovery May Lead To Better Heart And Stroke Treatments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081119140710.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Sixteen large food and beverage companies in the United States that committed to cut calories in their products far surpassed their target. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
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